Jon Rafman (Installation View) at Zabludowicz Collection, London. Photo: Thierry Bal
For his first major exhibition in the UK, multimedia artist Jon Rafman is exploring the differing spheres of reality and existence at the Zabludowicz Collection in London. The Montreal-based artist is typically known for his practice focusing on the relationship between technology and human consciousness. Here he takes his practice to a new dimension and scale, manipulating the space to create an interactive environment where viewer’s are able to ponder the real and the virtual, exploring technology with contemporary consciousness.
Rafman’s major work has often explored the depths of individual identity in an ever-changing contemporary society. Using a variety of mediums, from photography to film to installation work, Rafman’s work questions the limits of the digital realm as a space to negotiate constructions of present and the historical, specifically in terms of the fantastical memories and ideas of the past. By recreating the visual environment of society, Rafman’s work forces viewers to contemplate their place within contemporary society, and how individuals exist within the alternate dimensions or states of being his work infers.
In Rafman’s current major project, Sticky Drama (2015), he presents his first fully live-action short film, which was developed in London in recent months and featured a cast of over 35 children. Rafman collaborated with musician and sound artist Daniel Lopatin (Oneohtrix Point Never) to make this movie, co-produced by Warp Records and features music from Lopatin’s forthcoming album. The video reveals a fantastic world, where characters are on a quest for dominance, and in a race against time to archive past histories. The content of the video reflects the often grim games and imaginations of children, exploring Rafman’s ongoing research into the nature of memory and the terror of data loss. Working closely with technology, Rafman relies heavily on utilizing technology and exploring a sort of artificial intelligence within the digital realm in relation to outside reality.
Walking into the Zabludowicz Collection, Rafman has installed a large-scale artificial maze populated with digitally manipulated sculptures. The installation heightens the shuttering collapse of individual distinctions between the real and the digital, as visitors enter Rafman’s virtual space using Oculus Rift technology. Within the maze, the imaginary meets with the real, as visitors engage in tangible experiences and lose their controlled perceptions of time and space. The installation allows for visitors to engage with this fantastically digital realm that Rafman has created, and pushes visitors to interact with their environment as if they were characters in a video game. Weaving through the maze presents the viewer with a line of interactive challenges, which allow actual experience with digitally perceived reality to merge.
Rafman’s exhibition will Zabludowicz Collection in London until December 20, 2015.
Jon Rafman [Exhibition Page]