PHILADELPHIA––As if transported to a digital realm, Nick Lenker’s 2017 multimedia installation Recreation (First Person) at The Galleries at Moore emulates an early 90’s video game (think: Myst). This is especially apparent with his nearly 40-minute-long video (included below) which uses gaming structure and narrative tropes to tell a story.
Lenker, who self identifies as queer, writes his work is essentially about longing to connect with people, especially the increased feelings of isolation and disconnection even as we have social media and mobile technologies right at our fingertips. As a child, he explains he played video games, which he called “a projection of self into another world.” Even so, he felt alone there. As a preteen Jehovah’s Witness and an adolescent queer, Lenker says these feelings of isolation persisted, and followed him into adulthood.
Lenker included ceramic works from his IRL Objects collection, which were displayed throughout the black and white pixelated environment in plexiglass containers. These objects imbued a similar video game vibe with their graphic kintsugi amalgamations. Aching facsimiles of reality, these objects endeavor for connection on the plane in which modern social interaction lives in an increasingly digital age.
[I’m] Surrounded by windows I cannot open, screens to everyone and anyone’s life. I am alone here. You are also alone. We cannot touch one another. I long to be able to connect with people.
It is all very surface, these glimpses into others lives that are not exactly real, not exactly false. What is between their screen and mine? I saw a void between space. Something is there. It enters our personal space, takes from us. It has no identity, it is skinless, faceless, it steals from us to create.
Images by Joe Hu.
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