PAUL SUTHERLAND (WA) - DOWN TIME
FELTdark: 4TH - 20TH APRIL 2019
Down Time is a phenomenological reduction of the aesthetics of casual phone game advertisements. These advertisements are montaged into a twenty-three minute video, with a Gaussian blur applied until only bright, abstract colour remains. The work draws inspiration from the lack of enjoyment I feel playing phone games, despite continuing to do so (these games are indeed designed to provoke feelings of stress and anxiety and not of play or fun). On the one hand, it speaks to a personal sense of shame, that I should be “spending my time better”. On the other hand, the business model utilised by casual game developers lends itself to games simply becoming a vehicle for giving advertisements and in-game purchases to consumers, from which developers hope to make an opportunistic profit. In reducing the advertisements to fluctuating colour fields, a sense of dissociation, alienation and, against all odds, pleasure, becomes apparent.
Down Time was previously featured in an exhibition titled Keeping Busy, examining the aesthetics of leisure, unproductivity and inhabiting digital space as a neoliberal subject. All of the works in Keeping Busy utilised screen-capturing as a creative means, in line with my practice’s ongoing exploration of the relationship between performance/performativity and documentation.