Sat 11 January — Thu 30 January 2020
In 1991, Will Wright’s house disappeared. The game designer started to think about playful ways to build houses - and people - from scratch, giving birth to The Sims, one of the best-selling video games of all time. As a digital avatar, a happy 'Sim' would thrive when their needs are fulfilled. We, children born in the nineties, were hypnotised by the possibility of designing a virtual life from scratch, where duties and actions are performed on a loop.
This digital life performed in circles brings to mind Jeanne Tullen’s series of GIFs of her own body. On screens, she contorts and turns like a figure in a video game, ready for selection. When Tullen performs physically in the gallery, wearing a matching skin tone costume she too has created, she is an avatar made physical, interacting with her screen based alter egos.
Tullen’s playful work references self image making, from computer games to selfies and Snapchat, where the author is simultaneously subject. Tullen does not position the digital portrait and the physical one as two opposite poles of reality, rather, they become complementary. Simulating the disassembly and reassembly of a body, Tullen performs the constant transition from the physical to the virtual, where the human needs its avatar.
Text by Alma Cecilia Suarez.
Part of Intermedia