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An Artist's Impression

1999 - 2000

An on-line game (MUSH) & gallery installation including live performance

An Artists' Impression was a long-term project originating in our fascination with the 'soft underbelly' of the WWW! We researched a number of live online 'games' concentrating on those where simple role-playing and social activities happened (see Links for more) and found the characters, landscapes and activities constantly occurring (in text only) in realtime in these - the most visually impoverished corners of the web - compelling. Both banal / workaday and fantastical in content, we are also impressed by the volume of regular players in these MUSHes and MOOs, and the absence of anything more than a 'code of honour' in most that delineated the players' conduct.

We developed our own social online game or MUSH, Island - which you can still visit using the link opposite. An open-ended experiment, it's a live, interactive space which during AAI's most lively time - when the project was first exhibited and toured - has hosted many players and seen many events and buildings...Shortly after this went online we decided to undertake the making of a physical 'impression' of this space which would still somehow articulate the impossibility of mirroring an online space. The online MUSH culture seemed intuitively to link to the aesthetic of the model railway, and so the island was developed using these modelling techniques and aesthetics.

When the project was finally exhibited (first at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London) the visitor was met with a vast model island (8m x 4m) and us (the artists) at work in corner workshops, constantly trying to update the model with the online 'game' changes.
A parallel audience experienced the project solely online.

The installation was acquired by London's Science Museum but unfortunately succumbed to pest damage in storage in 2016. It has since been destroyed.