Landscape Overture

Digital video (1920 x 1080), color, no sound, 60′, 2021-present.

In the last decade, the relationship between the world, video games, technical production, and play activities has expanded and acquired new characteristics. Virtual worlds have increasingly drawn from the social, economic, and political dynamics of the world we live in, reproducing true simulations of these dynamics and shaping them according to the reference narratives. Where the “real” world is increasingly defined by multitasking practices and increasingly blurred boundaries between work and leisure time, many video games respond similarly, further complicating the virtual worlds in which players are immersed and filling them with tasks to be performed, effectively creating an endless work practice.

My work considers a specific genre of video games and narrative type: the post-apocalyptic open world. In recent years, these products have become increasingly complex, providing players with enormous worlds to explore and an ever-expanding array of activities to engage in. However, this multitude of seemingly diversified activities homogenizes play activity and renders the player uncritical. Moreover, a paradox occurs: game worlds are increasingly filled with details and specifics in the construction of environments, yet the continuous eruption of tasks to be completed renders the beauty of these scenarios completely accessory elements.

The post-apocalyptic theme is crucial, as it is often highlighted in video games as regenerated from the decline of human civilization. However, the focus in video games on entirely human activities (the various missions and sub-missions requested of players) renders this meaning a mere trinket. My work aims to focus on the re-evaluation of the landscape in such video game texts and reveal the potential contemplative activity related to it. This can be achieved by short-circuiting the functioning of these games: the incessant movement in the anthropocentric space is countered by a stationary contemplative vision of the natural landscape.

I recorded various long sequences in seven different video games, merging them together in post-production. However, this is not intended to be a standardization of the viewing process but rather an expressive fusion of what is ignored during the consumption of video games. The fused landscapes indeed seem to possess their own communal life, in a chromatic explosion, almost as if responding to the explosions depicted by post-apocalyptic narratives.

The process of collecting landscapes for archival purposes and future artistic reuse is still ongoing.