Glitchscape (Paving Stones)
2008. 4 Archival Pigment Prints on Rag Paper. | 27.5 x 44”
Artist’s Statement: The Glitchscapes (2007-2009) are a series of large-scale photographs of glitches in the landscape of World of Warcraft, an online role-playing game where millions of people come together to slay dragons, collect treasure, dance in castle courtyards, and engage in all the other tropes of the epic fantasy genre. WoW’s landscape, equal parts pastiche of Romantic painting, cinema’s grand melees, and historical landscape photography’s colonial vistas, was rendered by some of the most sophisticated networking and graphics technology available during its heyday. The graphics technologies are explicitly designed to create a seamless experience, which is to say, hide all the work they’re doing so the player can immerse themselves in the world. But as anyone who has spent more than a few moments with computers can tell you, computers don’t always work correctly. The specific combination of computer graphics card and version of WoW that I was using to make my artworks was especially prone to extreme visual glitches. Like the facade falling off Disneyland’s Matterhorn, I found the punctuating moment of a glitch, owing to its sudden glimpse at the frantic infrastructure required to simulated the real, more unsettlingly magical than the most spectacularly rendered dragon. The photographs in Glitchscapes capture these moments of breakdown, letting us see the many complex permutations of polygons, textures, math, and engineering that are used to create the videogame’s illusionary realism. (Artist’s note: Within a short time of completing this project, this particular hardware/software mismatch was fixed in a patch, leaving my photographs as some of the only visual records of this state of World of Warcraft.)
For more information click here.