This is a work in progress void, into which I am hurling development images, assets, mechanics and cosmic clones. NOTE: It will not work on mobile devices.
While in residence at the Museum of Oxford with Digital Artist Residency, I will test my hypothesis that videogames are an effective ‘means of access’ to local collections. I will look to create a new pathway for Oxford’s communities to engage with the fantastic resource MoO maintains. The game(s) I’ll be making will place players as time-travellers in an interactive void, where the wide insights of MoO’s collections talk to each other outside of linear understandings of time and chronology. Perhaps this work can even reincarnate some of the oral druidic tradition of ancestors in pre-Christian Britain as contemporary folk storytelling; one that understands digital spaces as key grounds for the creation and expression of people-powered narratives. Ideas of ‘backwards causality’ and ‘entangled histories’ - so brilliantly discussed by groups such as Black Quantum Futurism - will be instructive in the framing of my research, and in weaving a productively spun web of Oxford’s pasts, presents and futures. I want to highlight how regional archives can remind us of temporal interconnectedness, and furthermore the wonderful propensity of communities everywhere to search for meaningfulness; be it social, economic, aesthetic, spiritual. Many thanks to MoO and DAR for hosting me.
Love, Benjamin Hall xxx
Ritual for Retrocurrences
"Memory, prehistoric memory, has no time." - Author Toni Morrison (1987)
Outside of time, the journey has already happened and hasn’t happened yet.
Within that liminality lies all of the space-time needed to create an experience
or an event.
You must traverse the terrain to know it - you create time by your own pacing and rhythms, that become entangled with others.
Let your imagination lead you, it knows everything you don’t know yet and can’t be aware of as our common reality unfolds linearly.
Listen to your body deeply - it holds the time and memory of all your mothers and grandmothers before and they have been everywhere you will be and have been and so there is never a wrong place or time for you.
Allow time to emerge from its timeless degrees of freedom, and take up as much space within the moment as desired and needed, stretching it out and filling it up to accommodate you.
Shadow of the Black Hole//Reverse Time-Binding Ritual
“Shadows (like other holes) can survive the destruction of their originators. Consider a tree that is constantly illuminated as it petrifies into stone. The stone continues the shadow begun by the tree.” - Philosopher Roy Sorensen (2008)
Our own shadows mimic the shadow of a black hole.
The shadow is the keeper of memories and possibilities, actively recording every moment it is with you, using the light emanating off the body like a camera.
It also captures the alternate world/possibility of any choice not chosen.
Some shadow worlds can be trapped/captured in the form of events, and tapped into for brief moments of time. The “matter” of our body is merely the hologram between the shadow and the light.
The shadow self records and mirrors your every action. In the mirror it is amplified. You can tap into that recording, if you find the shadow memory.
Activate the shadow as the time machine of the self. Use the shadow to retrieve hidden information lost at the point of space-time collapse.
If you jump all the way through the black hole and reached the other side, would you be turned inside out? Could you start all over?
What symbols would you send back to communicate with past selves, what would penetrate the veil of the motionless present?
- Rasheedah Phillips/ Black Quantum Futurism in Activating Retrocurrences and Reverse Time-Bindings in the Quantum Now(s), (2019)
Below are some DIY photogrammetry scans from my first site visit to Oxford, including objects from the Museum of Oxford's collection and St Margaret's, Binsey. More models are avaliable for free download on Sketchfab. Treacle Well is said to have sprung from the ground upon the prayer of St Frideswide, later used to cure King Algar of Leicester/ Æthelbald of Mercia's curse of blindness and inspire the iconic 'rabbit hole' in University alumnus Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I encourage viewers to reexamine Carroll's legacy in light of the paedophilic tone of his relationship with his real-world child muse Alice Liddell.
Animated 'kitbash'-style character models for the game, placed on top of 120mm analogue photos taken around Oxfordshire. Including; a Whispering Knight at the Rollright Stones, the Red Giant of Shotover, a King being petrified by Mother Shipton at the King's Stone, Wayland at his Smithy and St Frideswide conjuring Treacle Well.
Below is the trailer for a previous project - Brassknocker, 1979 - which similarly unearthed material from a regional archive (Bath Records Office) and translated it into an interactive narrative experience.