Utopia, is part of an ongoing series of digital still and moving image work which feature groups of digitally generated and animated groups of figures engaged in often complex activities, in relationship to specifically created digital environments.
This exhibition focuses on Bennett’s still image work which directly grow out of the digital animations. As with his moving image work the components are built and animated using 3D modeling and animation software.
The work draws on diverse influences, including the photographic studies of humans in motion by Eadweard J. Muybridge and Jules-Etienne Marey, the elaborate geometric choreography of 1930s Hollywood musical choreographer Busby Berkeley, the looped animations of nineteenth century optical toys, Renaissance depictions of the body, the aesthetics of the contemporary digital video game, and the spatial dynamics of Japanese Edo period prints.
The arrangements and re-arrangements of colonies of ‘digital multitudes’ explore issues of group dynamics, in images which can be read as simultaneously utopian and dystopian. A generic animated figure is employed as a building block to assemble and reassemble units of performed actions, loops and cycles, creating ongoing series of patterns of movement vocabulary.
Tethered to the endless cycle of looped actions these figures resist the conventions of linear narrative progression, trapped in a kind of compulsive stasis with no clear beginning or end. This condition of the loop and its apparent inability to achieve resolution, or perhaps the illusion that it creates of some kind of perpetuality recalls animator Robert Breer’s comments on metamorphic transformation:
“…time doesn’t move forward, things are going, but sideways, obliquely, down and backwards, not necessarily ahead. The sense of motion is the issue. That idea seems hard to defend, because our locomotion drives us forward with our faces looking at new things. But since that movement is toward oblivion, in my philosophy anyhow, it might as well be backward. It’s a delusion to think you are getting anywhere.”