Digital artist Gabriel Massan explores queer club culture, societies of violence and virtual ecosystems across their online residency at Fact.
Gabriel Massan describes themselves as a ‘3RD WORLDBUILDER’, but really, we don’t have a name for the kinds of worlds they want to build. Over the last few years the artist has defined a discipline of CGI sculpture, drawing from a vast, digitally-mediated latticework of video game and anime references to create visceral work with a physicality that reflects their experiences growing up in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, as well as their immersion in the queer club culture of the latter and in their current bases of Berlin and Paris.
Driven by a desire to map their emotional experiences of systemic political and cultural structures onto ecosystems untethered from physical representation and the body, these digital sculptures have blossomed into a fully-fledged world building practice, work which the artist has shown at the X Museum in Beijing and the Julia Stoschek Collection in Dusseldorf. Their approach culminates in the upcoming Third World, a “consciousness-raising game that explores Black-indigenous Brazilian experience,” commissioned by Serpentine Arts Technologies and featuring Web3 integrations built on the Tezos Blockchain.
In ‘Unbonded on a Bonded Domain (Part One),’ the first of a three-part series Massan will present during their online residency at Fact, we find ourselves in a biomechanical nightclub, an alternate reality mutation of Cyberia, the cyberpunk haven for underage ravers and disillusioned hackers from cult 1998 anime Serial Experiments Lain. Trapped in a Beckettian back-and-forth of drug-induced small talk and existential angst, a group of digital entities question the nature of their environment and their place within it.
By transplanting a familiar scenario into an entirely fictionalised context, Massan creates space for a complexity of expression without the need to offer up too much of themselves in the process. “Dismembering my body from my mind gives those bodies and those different identities a way of flirting with my concepts without really giving them any traces of me,” they explain. “Imagine if I was able to give those different identities a voice, if they could speak, how would they speak, what would they say to each other?”
You can find Gabriel Massan on Instagram.
Unbonded on a Bonded Domain Credits:
Concept, Director, Lead Artist – Gabriel Massan
Animator, Unreal Developer – Carlos Minozzi
Sound Designer, Music – Agazero
Watch next: Fact Residency – Theo Triantafyllidis