States of Play: Roleplay Reality @ FACT Liverpool

03/06/18 by GDLP

Emoji summary: 🚨😡❌

- TW: VIOLENCE, MURDER

 

When i used to go out-out, it was down to pure chance if i’d have a good time or not. i was new, going outside and hoping the wind wouldn’t blow dust into my eyes. ; mostly getting drunk would be fine - id b bouncy, on the pull. but sometimes a small indirect action would set me off and id want to fight someone ! or i’d be in tears, crying because i was young and so embarrassed about everything. My previous relationship coincided with this time and if that boy’s exes would see me in a club they’d come for me, throwing a drink that was meant for him (in retrospect i forgive their misplaced resentment, how they were braver with a drink in hand and ready to deal with his selfishness in abstract girly ways).

    i only got drunk from ages 17-21 and now I’m 23 n I no longer will because I know truly truly that i’m not emotionally fast enough to get over things while I’m still trying to navigate the social obstacle course of being on a night out. I know this is about to become a mad analogy but i believe in it, so: when I’m going to galleries every week looking for exhibitions I can review for the white pube, I’m reminded of the same risk i used 2 take drinking vodka n coke and falling towards good and bad memories. (i can feel in my bones how i’d tip toe around on edge; and i’m doing the same here n now). I continue to write reviews because occasionally I’m thrilled by a gallery encounter; it can b the loveliest thing to float away with art; and admittedly i go on writing because sometimes I can get a building fight out my system in a healthy deserved way. When i visited the FACT in Liverpool this week for their current exhibition, it was like being in a club and bumping into that one person you really really dont wanna see, and ur having to hav a word with yourself in the bathroom mirror because it’s ruined your whole night. 

    States of Play: Roleplay Reality is yet another oversubscribed group show full of tech art under spotlights in the darkened rooms of FACT: if u have been to one of these at the gallery, you’ve been to them all. They are curated like ‘what if we tried to make the gallery look like the internet but in real life!’ i used to be excited at that but now im over it. States of Play is ‘exploring the complex, contemporary landscape of video games’ with a particular focus on role-play. Upstairs, and straight to the point of contention, there’s a virtual reality film that lasts just over a minute made by art bro Jordon Wolfson. in the video a computer generated version of the artist beats a man, who is kneeling on the pavement before him, to death. It is called ‘Real Violence.’ as the viewer, you are bodiless and watching over the scene as it plays out in a cleaner, emptier simulated new york. There is a Hanukkah prayer being sung somewhere as Wolfson begins by using a baseball bat to knock the man down, before stamping his head repeatedly into the ground. the victim’s legs twitch emphatically on the floor. and both murderer and victim are generic looking white men, just to set the scene.

    I am biased because I think artists like Wolfson are entitled af and intent on force-feeding a bizarre complicity onto their viewers, but more seriously, and I quote @Sir_Berus on Twitter when they say, ‘there is nothing moving, profound or necessary about reproducing violent imagery in art when that imagery only seeks to reinforce the status quo. Creative provocation that makes no challenge to power is a vapid use of shock value.’ Wolfson’s VR piece is masturbatory, pointless and selfish. Across the artist’s practice, he publicly indulges in different male fantasies and then asks the gallery visitor to get into them with him. Na, and I’m not going to do what I’ve seen other critics do and justify his art by saying it is a catalyst ! for ! social ! commentary ! when all he’s making is one-liner art like a darker, nerdier Ryan Gander. 

i am sick 2 death of harmful art being platformed by institutions made up of people who should know better.

also: I am sad that it felt like this art poisoned the show, like it was that one lad out looking to get into a fight with a bouncer or a girl in the mood to swill someone. Imagine literally sitting in your studio and thinking about how to make a thoughtful piece of art that engages with ideas of violence, the banal, computer games and voyeurism and deciding instead to take all those points and produce a stress test instead. When I was younger, someone beat me up with a crowbar and when I’m close with a friend I might tell them why and its interesting how they’ll be so saddened and empathetic at my story and I don’t need to whip one out to make them think about it. interesting! Wolfson is not edgy or challenging, he comes off smarmy and frankly he is abusing the closeness of virtual reality to attack the gallery visitor.

fuck.knows.why. 

b͓̽e͓̽s͓̽t͓̽ ͓̽v͓̽i͓̽e͓̽w͓̽e͓̽d͓̽ ͓̽i͓̽n͓̽ ͓̽l͓̽a͓̽n͓̽d͓̽s͓̽c͓̽a͓̽p͓̽e͓̽
͓̽o͓̽r͓̽ ͓̽o͓̽n͓̽ ͓̽a͓̽ ͓̽d͓̽e͓̽s͓̽k͓̽t͓̽o͓̽p͓̽

{ 𝔱𝔥𝔢 𝔬𝔫𝔩𝔶 𝔯𝔢𝔞𝔰𝔬𝔫 𝔗𝔥𝔢 𝔚𝔥𝔦𝔱𝔢 𝔓𝔲𝔟𝔢 𝔠𝔞𝔫 𝔰𝔱𝔦𝔩𝔩 𝔢𝔵𝔦𝔰𝔱 𝔦𝔰 𝔟𝔢𝔠𝔞𝔲𝔰𝔢 𝔰𝔬𝔪𝔢 𝔬𝔣 𝔬𝔲𝔯 𝔯𝔢𝔞𝔡𝔢𝔯𝔰 𝔠𝔥𝔬𝔬𝔰𝔢 𝔱𝔬 𝔰𝔲𝔭𝔭𝔬𝔯𝔱 𝔲𝔰 𝔢𝔞𝔠𝔥 𝔪𝔬𝔫𝔱𝔥 𝔳𝔦𝔞 𝔓𝔞𝔱𝔯𝔢𝔬𝔫. 𝔚𝔢 𝔰𝔬𝔪𝔢𝔱𝔦𝔪𝔢𝔰 𝔡𝔬 𝔱𝔞𝔩𝔨𝔰 𝔞𝔫𝔡 𝔬𝔱𝔥𝔢𝔯 𝔧𝔬𝔟𝔰 𝔟𝔲𝔱 𝔓𝔞𝔱𝔯𝔢𝔬𝔫 𝔦𝔰 𝔥𝔬𝔴 𝔴𝔢 𝔤𝔢𝔱 𝔭𝔞𝔦𝔡 𝔣𝔬𝔯 𝔱𝔥𝔢 𝔞𝔠𝔱𝔲𝔞𝔩 𝔴𝔯𝔦𝔱𝔦𝔫𝔤 𝔥𝔢𝔯𝔢 - 𝔱𝔥𝔢 𝔯𝔢𝔳𝔦𝔢𝔴𝔰 𝔫 𝔞𝔯𝔱 𝔱𝔥𝔬𝔲𝔤𝔥𝔱𝔰 𝔞𝔫𝔡 𝔰𝔬 𝔬𝔫. 𝔄𝔫𝔡 𝔦𝔱'𝔰 𝔰𝔬 𝔦𝔪𝔭𝔬𝔯𝔱𝔞𝔫𝔱 𝔱𝔬 𝔲𝔰 2 𝔱𝔥𝔞𝔱 𝔴𝔢 𝔠𝔞𝔫 𝔰𝔱𝔞𝔶 𝔦𝔫𝔡𝔢𝔭𝔢𝔫𝔡𝔢𝔫𝔱 𝔠𝔯𝔦𝔱𝔦𝔠𝔰 𝔴𝔦𝔱𝔥𝔬𝔲𝔱 𝔱𝔦𝔢𝔰 𝔱𝔬 𝔟𝔦𝔤 𝔣𝔲𝔫𝔡𝔢𝔯𝔰 𝔬𝔯 𝔦𝔫𝔰𝔱𝔦𝔱𝔲𝔱𝔦𝔬𝔫𝔰, 𝔭𝔲𝔟𝔩𝔦𝔠 𝔬𝔯 𝔭𝔯𝔦𝔳𝔞𝔱𝔢. 𝔗𝔥𝔞𝔫𝔨 𝔶𝔬𝔲 𝔣𝔬𝔯 𝔟𝔢𝔦𝔫𝔤 𝔬𝔲𝔯 𝔬𝔩𝔡 𝔱𝔦𝔪𝔢𝔶 𝔭𝔞𝔱𝔯𝔬𝔫𝔰 - 𝔴𝔢'𝔩𝔩 𝔡𝔬 𝔬𝔲𝔯 𝔟𝔢𝔰𝔱 𝔱𝔬 𝔭𝔯𝔬𝔡𝔲𝔠𝔢 𝔮𝔲𝔞𝔩𝔦𝔱𝔶 𝔬𝔲𝔱𝔭𝔲𝔱; 𝔴𝔯𝔦𝔱𝔢 𝔰𝔱𝔲𝔣𝔣 𝔱𝔥𝔞𝔱 𝔦𝔰 𝔱𝔥𝔬𝔲𝔤𝔥𝔱𝔣𝔲𝔩 𝔞𝔫𝔡 𝔰𝔦𝔫𝔠𝔢𝔯𝔢. }

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