Date of Submission
Project Advisor 1
Into This Artificial Dawn is an image based investigation into the visual vernacular of video games and the social and conceptual experience of representing oneself online. At the heart of the work is a fictional relationship between two characters, and a hazy series of events and interventions into discovering and imagining their world. The story is told both in print and digitally, in part through a simple visual novel video game, which forms the main framework for the narrative and invites the viewer to encounter the photographs as a form of play. These images, which fall along a spectrum of photography, represent a fictional realm, which transposes and intersects with several environments, including that which is visible before a camera lens, as well as 3D rendering software, and virtual reality platforms.
The images here are seen and made as if with a camera, even when they are not. And when they are, it is as a kind of camera rendering, which references an aesthetic “digitalness” echoing throughout the miscellanea of image types in the project. Combined they question a separation between the virtual and the real, and in turn between the real and the representative in photography. Here the impulse for the authorship of fictionality runs parallel to a photographic desire for authenticity.
Conceptually the work borrows from internet and fandom culture surrounding video games, including but not limited to, identity and role play, the ephemeral belonging of being in-on-the-joke, proximities to masculinity, fan art and fan fiction, and the personal effects of regularly inhabiting online spaces.
These topics have become overwhelmingly relevant to me over the past two years, after many of the spaces I frequented daily were in ways digitally substituted and supplemented with virtual spaces and services. I have not only become more attuned and curious to observing the language of those platforms, but also to how I feel and who I become or play in those spaces. As I begin to be more present and observant of the fantasies being sold and pirated in the virtual landscape surrounding me, I also yield to a more unexpectant view of myself and my personas.
This work is an attempt to trace and suggest visually the feeling of inhabiting a world that is artificial, polymorphic, and which occupies somewhere just beyond my ability to see it.
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Denner-Kenny, Maemae, "Into This Artificial Dawn" (2022). Senior Projects Spring 2022. 86.
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