In the second part of their online residency at Fact, Gabriel Massan drops us into the midst of an existential fighting game and hard dance battle between two biomechas who have lost their identities.
A large part of Gabriel Massan‘s art practice has centred around mapping the systemic structures of violence and inequality they have observed and experienced throughout their lives, from their birthplace of Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, to their current bases of Berlin and Paris. “When I started I wanted to create situations and scenarios that were close to me. I wanted to talk about violence without using the same old images of violence, I wanted to talk about race, or racism, without forcing the topic,” they explain.
“At that time I was always talking about topics that were much bigger than me, trying to represent the other’s perspective, but I realised that I just want to tell my own story without needing to call it out for everyone, that I’m not everyone’s saviour,” they continue. “Now, I really want to create beings and objects without a strong connection with humankind, or even signs and symbols that we use as a society. It’s a way to tell stories without leading with prejudice.”
In the second part of their online residency at Fact, the virtual entities from the first episode are reincarnated within a dream of an existential, biomecha fighting game, spectated and narrated by another character who has seemingly lost their previous identity. “The image that is generated, the sensation that is generated, is influenced by the signs stored in you,” they assert. “Unbridled violence is a choice, but not in your world.”
As the biomechanical brawl spins out into a hard dance battle, soundtracked by producer Agazero, Massan underlines the powerful potential of gamifying difficult experiences, allowing their audience to feel through complexity on their own terms. “You expect them to act as you would act,” the commentator observes, “but then you disregard the multiplicity of their experiences.” In this way this “clash stuck in time” serves both as a reflection on Massan’s relationship to representation in art and as a comment on the messy process of navigating a world that wasn’t built with you in mind.
You can find Gabriel Massan on Instagram.
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