Down to the River, into the Street
2023 Experimental Artist Award
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About the artist and artwork
Guy Lobwein is a Meanjin, Brisbane, contemporary artist currently undertaking his Doctorate of Philosophy at QUT.
His research focuses on the use of expanded reality technologies in contemporary art, such as VR, AR and CGI, exploring how experimental creative practice can generate experiential and critically reflective experiences.
During the floods in 2022, Lobwein found it impossible not to think of Moloch, a figure in a famous poem called Howl, by Allen Ginsberg, American poet and founding father of the Beat generation.
‘Moloch was conceptualised in his poem ‘Howl’ as a scapegoat for the evils of contemporary society. Whether symbolising capitalistic greed, endless conflicts, or planetary ecocide, Moloch appears to me in the way I observe and practice art within social structures that continuously generate these nightmares.’
Even in the materials and tools that Lobwein uses to create art, (3D rendering programs, photogrammetry, and computer-generated graphics), virtual environments have become complicit in these disasters ‘frequently drawing our attention away from the inevitable dooms I feel powerless to change.’
Guy Lobwein’s haunting work thoughtfully reflects on both digital technology and urban futures in the context of the climate crisis. Our retreat further into virtual digital realms seems inevitable, even as this escape route exacerbates the climate change transforming our physical environment. Here, the artist’s virtual doppelganger sits amidst rising flood waters, perhaps on the streets of Brisbane/Meanjin. Wearing gloves and boots, the figure seems half-heartedly prepared for catastrophe, yet remains inert, listlessly staring at its reflection. Both artist and audience are entangled in the work’s narrative as it memorably and succinctly evokes the paralysis of the contemporary moment, where screen culture and natural disaster are intertwined.Metro Arts is the home of independent contemporary art encouraging experimental practice. In 2024 Metro Arts will work with Guy to present an exhibition of his work which will also feature this piece.
On behalf of Metro Arts