Gregory Bennett

Dromospheres

4 October – 2 November 2013

Dromospheres at Two Rooms presents a new series of video works which continue artist Gregory Bennett’s exploration of intricately constructed virtual worlds populated by multitudes of de-individualized moving figures trapped in a form of uncanny life; bodies enacting a series of seemingly endless cryptic cyclic rituals, existing in a marginal state, neither dead or undead.

Here the corporeal body is transformed into proliferating avatars inhabiting a range of environments where existence is either tenuous, or wholly subsumed into a synthetic ecosystem. These spaces can be read as a series of psychological landscapes, as representations of hermetic digital colonies – depictions which fluctuate between the utopian and dystopian, or as figures enacting some enigmatic ceremonial.

These works extend further Bennett’s range of environments and settings for his digital performers, taking a meta-creational approach which might at times appear to mimic the appearance of a living system, but which is dependent on a range of virtual processes and simulations. This provides a staging ground for a variety of both passive and active interactions between the figures and their often unstable geographic and architectural settings.

Time and space are ambiguous factors here – environments rotate or pan past the viewer situated in a kind of metaphysical ‘no-space’ reminiscent of a video game environment. Figures, objects, and ‘natural’ phenomena move in synchronous and asynchronous time loops, intervals, and durations, both moving forward and held in a kind of dynamic stasis. The distortions of one-point perspective are rejected – perspectival space is flattened out to orthographic projection, recalling the representational systems employed in Japanese art and architectural drawings.

Complex 3D animation software is utilized to order to realize these works, drawing on a range of representational traditions and influences from both art historical, moving image and popular culture sources where the multiplied body forms the primary subject.

The term ‘dromosphere’ is a neologism (from “dromos”, race) coined by the French philosopher Paul Virillio, and refers to a state whereby the speed of instantaneous ‘real-time’ digital communications and the electronic augmentation of human thought has distorted and constricted time, removing the past and the future, reducing human temporality to a present ‘Now-time’. This conception of the temporal ‘always-now’ informs both the sense of psychological/temporal space and the ambiguous presence and status of the figures in these works.

Gregory Bennett, currently a senior lecturer in Digital Design, School of Art and Design at AUT University, has a background in fine arts practice and moving image production and post-production. Bennett has received numerous awards and grants for his work and his “Utopia” series has been exhibited internationally at the Lamar Dodd School of Art, Georgia, USA and screened also at ISEA 2102 , Alberquerque, New Mexico, USA. His work has featured in public art exhibitions and at Auckland Art Gallery, TSB  Bank Wallace Arts Centre, the Gus Fisher Gallery, Artspace, Experimenta in Melbourne and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. His work has been screened at film festivals throughout New Zealand and is represented in the collections of Auckland University, Chartwell and James Wallace as well as private collections in New Zealand and overseas.