‘The whole experience is superbly disorientating, an uncanny valley of wartime-trauma-turned nostalgia…’
Aesthetica Magazine, August / September 2021
The Island is a 3D online virtual exhibition about England’s endless nostalgia for World War Two era Britain. It is played by a single player.
The exhibition takes place within a seemingly idyllic 3D countryside landscape. Its content draws on an array of sources, with both archive material from Britain’s Imperial War Museum and content from recent social media feeds placed in close proximity. This cyclical collage of jingoistic sound, imagery, and rural landscape, exists neither in the past nor present, and connects historical and contemporary references to wartime Britain in the player’s mind as if they were one and the same.
The experience offers a nuanced and complex representation of trauma and inherent ‘Britishness’ as the UK literally and metaphorically follows in the footsteps of the war-time idiom to ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’.
Unlike the video games that this virtual world references, once landed on The Island’s purgatorial terrain it is almost impossible for the player to escape the circularity of the first level.
The work was commissioned by Vitrine Gallery (London/ Basel) and was exhibited online in 17th June – 25th September 2021.