Beyond is all around me

2017, video with sound, 55′ 02″ duration

This work combines found ‘footage’ (a Youtube screen-grab from the game Minecraft), with found voice (the narration of the film Alone in the Wilderness). Both sources are in their own ways inauthentic constructions.

Alone in the Wilderness is a 2004 documentary based on film reels and journals made by the naturalist Dick Proenneke, who spent this last three decades living alone in the Alaska wilderness. The voice one hears narrating the film is like that of the proverbial wise uncle or grandfather, dispensing hard-won wisdom with wry and wistful asides. It is natural to imagine Proenneke himself at the mic. However, Proenneke’s ‘voice’ in the film is a construction, in the sense that his journals were edited into a script by the film makers, and that the script is narrated by an actor. Proenneke in fact died shortly before the film was made.

Minecraft is a hugely successful video game in which players build worlds for themselves in a graphically simple, highly stylised virtual environment. It is not too much of stretch to imagine a player spending decades within the game, building virtual log cabins and roaming a world which, unlike Alaska, is unbounded.

In combination, these two inauthentic sources produce a weird sort of alternate authenticity, which is both liberating and disturbing. We are freer than ever to imagine worlds for ourselves. But at the same time, formerly straightforward understandings of data and facts are increasingly obfuscated, very often deliberately for political ends, but also due to the underlying, alienating effects of techno-capitalism.