Brody Condon - DesResFX.Kill (Karma Physics < Elvis) (2004)

DesResFX.Kill (Karma Physics < Elvis) is a self playing modification of the science fiction first person shooter computer game engine Unreal Tournament 2003. When plugged into a projector/monitor and power, a small custom computer starts and displays the work. The viewer is pulled slowly through an endless chasm of pink fog filled with countless floating, flailing bodies of Elvis Presley. The representations of Elvis are appropriated archetypes that represent a certain type of character; they are empty shells that one can inhabit during a video game.

The choice of pink background and the use of Presley’s image imbue the artwork with a rather humorous quality. The artist’s sense of humour seems rather dark when the observers discover that the convulsions of Elvis are controlled by the original game’s Karma real-time physics system – a type of procedural animation that applies real-world physics to video games, especially when re-enacting death animations. Movements are calculated at the moment they are executed, enabling the video game character to interact more naturally with its virtual environment. The “reality” of the game is not predetermined when using karma physics; the player alters it through his or her imagination’s comprehension of the virtual environment. Condon states that he misuses karma physics as a “new representation of death via code, not just the visual surface of trauma, but the physical dynamics of the falling figure.” [1] DesResFX.Kill (Karma Physics < Elvis) seems even darker in its subject matter when one realises that the artist is keeping the allegedly immortal ‘King of Rock ‘n Roll’ doing the eternal ‘dance of death’ in his artwork. This realisation is striking in both its gravity and lightness, where it is reduced to a simple, repetitive action in the virtual world.

(An excerpt from one of my published entries on the Art and Electronic Media website.)

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