Critics’ Picks

Bita Razavi, Screenshot From Far Cry 5, 2019, digital print on fine art paper in gilded frame, 23 5/8 x 15 3/4''.

Helsinki

Bita Razavi

Oksasenkatu 11
Oksasenkatu 11
August 9–September 1, 2019

Bita Razavi’s latest solo show marks a departure from the artist’s consideration of political mechanisms and social behavior, focusing instead on the solitary space of video gaming and the sensation of melancholy evoked by the distance between the insular gamer and nature. This sense of alienation is explored via the graphics of video games such as Far Cry 5 (2018), The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim (2011), The Hunter: Call of The Wild (2017), The Vanishing of Ethan Carter (2014), and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt (2015). Gilt-framed screenshots capture the similarity between the game designers’ intentions and those of the Impressionists, whose experiments in light aimed to re-create nature’s effect on the human sensory apparatus. Divided over two floors, the show resembles a historical landscape survey, its thirteen prints varying in style and verisimilitude according to the era in which the depicted game was produced. From the fantastical but hyperreal Screenshot from Far Cry 5 (all works 2019) to the rugged and kitsch Screenshot from Skyrim, six years is a long time in gaming history.

In the basement, the video projection Gameplay Video from The Hunter: Call of The Wild captures the changes in light over several in-game days. The work, featuring a musical score by Svetlana Maraš, has a quasi-somniferous effect, though the viewer is always returned to a sense of remove from the great outdoors. Additionally, a series of four sculptures entitled “The Dog Days Will be Over Soon” admixes rocks and plant matter with electronic components, such as a mouse and an old laptop. The overall message is that while digital technology can perform a convincing mimesis of nature, it feeds rather than overcomes our estrangement from it.