Jon Rafman makes digital artworks which he archives on his website: http://jonrafman.com
Jon Rafman’s Code of Honor (2011): intercutting animations with real life footage. I wonder if they are found footage, and he has written the story around the images as I assume he did for his Google Earth works.
This movie is about gaming and perhaps about how pointless it is. Some of it focuses on the hands of a player, or their dead eyes, rather than the game itself, showing objectively the small size, and uselessness of the action. He is so passionate about the score, almost anthropomorphising it as a friend. My own artwork will include a ‘highscores’ page, just to remind people that one’s accomplishments aren’t as important as you might think, as in fact everyone dies in the end. “Either I will kill you or you will kill me; it makes no difference“. The whole tone of the video seems rather pointless, depressed. “I felt I was condemned to be a minor character”: he speaks about being dead and gone and how his life would have been pointless. This is an undertone of my own interactive film ‘game forty two’. As this film’s final statement says: “nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the bedrock of growing old.”
A Man Digging (2013) has a similar theme to Code of Honour (2011), as it rewrites the themes of found video game footage. In this case, the theme is just as dismal and slowly paced, focusing on the aesthetic of death, and the protagonist’s obsession with it. Looking upon the dead bodies found in the games, the character considers what kind of story predicated their death; what happened to them, what was their life like? Or perhaps he wasn’t thinking this at all, just looking at them in their current state, all other levels of their life erased. Video games often feature death in some format, and as my film states, it is the only certainty in life.
A Man Digging (2013): http://www.ubu.com/film/rafman_digging.htmll
YEAR FOUR THOUGHTS: I should go back to his overview website and have an explore.
A recurring theme is that of the online experience, with multiple works utilising Google Earth and Street View. Another theme therefore is that of surveillance. In You, The World and I (2010), he states ‘In this day and age I was sure it’s impossible to disappear completely”. This film also seems to discuss the shallowness of the online interaction, in that every person photographed is a stranger to the photographer, and in that the one photo he used to revisit disappears. This idea of surveillance may be more useful for next year’s exhibition, but this year he is relevant for his use of web-based artworks and films. As well as Google Earth, he sources other found footage, which I feel could always be a reference to surveillance as well.
4th year idea: Surveilling the participants before they arrive to use them in the exhibition. When they arrive, see they are already participants, without any action. Passive participants.
Works to do withs surveillance and Google Earth: