There are always so many questions when you look at Richard Kolker’s work. I scan corner to corner, looking for clues, and I keep coming up with questions, not answers. Narratives unknown, ideas yet to be considered. There is something so disconcerting in these images, whether its the 3D modeling nature of the work, the ideas behind it or the strange emptiness of the spaces. I lose my balance, and in a way my sanity as I try to explain the scene, its prelude or sequel.
In his own words:
My work explores how we engage with virtual reality and escapism. Unlike the vicarious narrative of a movie or novel, the first person immersive involvement of a computer game and an online virtual world enables us to participate emotionally and socially in an alternative dimension to our familiar physical life. The participant can enjoy a rewarding and fulfilling virtual existence free from many of the pitfalls and uncertainties that can make real life so stressful.
The images portray the moment when the real and the virtual worlds meet. Not physically at the interface of a computer screen, but psychologically as the player recognises the blurring of the real / unreal boundary and is aware of the conflict that exists in his/her time being divided between the two. They represent imagined potential emotional triggers that remind the player of their roles and responsibilities in the real world.
The images are constructed using a combination of traditional photography and the 3D modelling techniques of the video game industry. But instead of portraying the escapist fantasy sought in the online world they reflect the more mundane nature of the player’s everyday life.
The work comprises of three series of images so far;
“Night” – Where the images that have been selected for “reGeneration2: Tomorrow’s Photographers Today” can be found. In this series the viewer is a voyeur gazing at the playing out of mundane scenes from the protagonist’s imagined life.
“House” – Explores the idea of the imagined intimate, personal, domestic space, and what is it that makes a house a nurturing safe environment where we are free to experiment and grow. I am particularly interested in the notion that for the first time technology has enabled us to create a genuinely photorealistic, entirely fictional, created space.
“The Game” – Comprises a series of imaginary video game stills where the viewer is the participant in the reflected ordinariness of his everyday life.
Richard Kolker received his MA in Photography from London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, in 2008. He has exhibited in the UK, Europe, and China. He has been selected for the book and exhibition “reGeneration2: Tomorrow’s Photographers Today,” Musee de L’Elysee, Lausanne, Switzerland.
All images copyright Richard Kolker. Used with permission.