Blast Theory, the adventurers in interactive media, have been commissioned to mark Exeter’s Royal Albert Memorial Museum’s reopening, and the city’s Spacex gallery is holding an exhibition to mark the 20 year anniversary of Balast Theatre.
The show will comprise a selection of works from the time, including archival footage from early performance pieces through to current works.
And there’s an incredibly prescient feel to them. The earliest work Stampede (1994) is a performance piece exploring crowds and rioting.
In Kidnap (1998), those who won a Blast Theory lottery won the opportunity to be kidnapped and put under 25-hour online surveillance (they even created a Kidnap Blipvert – how very Max Headroom!)
The BAFTA nominated Desert Rain (1999) is a game which creates a War Games scenario (baggsy being Matthew Broderick). It attempts to bring visitors to a new understanding of the role of mass media in distorting our appraisal of the world beyond our own personal experience. This work is presented through video documentation in the form of interviews and supporting texts.
Can You See Me Now? (2003) also has a whiff of Max Headroom. Another BAFTA nominated game, players participate online from anywhere in the world in a virtual city against members of Blast Theory who take to the streets of the chosen location. There satellite tracking and walkie-talkie eavesdropping. A three-screen projection in the main gallery space will present footage from the game being played in Oldenburg, Germany. You will be able to explore and interact with this virtual recording in real time.
Documentation of A Machine To See With (2010) gets its premiere in a gallery environment, and features a video of a particpant dealing with a bank robbery and it’s aftermath. A series of drawings of banks will accompany the film.
The Blast Theory mini-retrospective is at the Spacex gallery, Exeter, from December 10, to February 18.
(image: Can you see me now? (2003). Photo courtesy Blast Theory)