Metaverse: We are at the end of something, built in a gaming engine is a CGI film made in collaboration with CGI artist Ryan Vautier and performance artist Sakeema Cook. It contemplates the intersection of disparate events, human emotion and ideology in a post-Covid-19 world: from social distancing, growing wealth inequality, exacerbated divisions in ideology, to a battle between visions of an egalitarian or hierarchical utopia. There is a desire for change and a reboot of the current system, however, what is this new belief system? Which new structures do we want to create and how are we going to get there?
The film starts off in the check-in and security section of a subverted airport. It follows the strange journey the characters take through the airport to several virtual spaces examining inequality and systemic control amongst a mania of societal tension. Inside this world, humans have glass pregnant bellies, each displaying objects representing the inner workings of their mind. The pregnant bellies are vessels and carriers of the tools of our culture, transporting consciousness, feeling and belief from one space and time into another. This references Ursula Le Guin’s The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction and her desire to reframe history. Le Guin argues that the first tool was in fact not a spear, a weapon of violence and competition, but actually a vessel – a ‘carrier bag’: “Before the tool that forces energy outward, we made the tool that brings energy home.” Within the narrative, we portal through Sakeema’s mother’s vessel, traversing into Sakeema’s vessel and out into her world. In her world, Sakeema invites you to embrace things that are not at the end but rather ever-growing and changing. There is a collective feeling that our capitalistic reality is broken with a lack of political wisdom to navigate forwards. In this space, Sakeema is guiding you to embrace change, solidarity and compassion.
Keiken would like to thank collaborators Khidja, Rob Malone and Sarah Blome.
Courtesy of the Artists, Ryan Vautier and Sakeema Crook.
Commissioned by Yerevan Biennial Art Foundation for Yerevan Biennial 2020/2021 and Aspex Gallery and Pontoon.