Jenna Caravello: Easy Ultra Fine
5511 W Pico Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 90019
Thursday, May 9 at 6:00 PM 9:00 PM
Ends May 25, 2024
EASY ULTRA FINE JENNA CARAVELLO 5.9.24 - 5.25.24 Easy Ultra Fine is a collection of interactive works by Jenna Caravello (b.1988, Los Angeles) that use video game software and animation to explore hauntological virtual objects within video game environments. Opening at Gameplayarts on May 9th, this is Caravello’s first solo gallery show in Los Angeles. Stemming from research on emergent gameplay in open-world video games and inspired by red-herring collectables in point-and-click adventure games, Easy Ultra Fine centers on emotions gamers attach to virtual objects and invites introspection on their scarcity, uselessness, or potential. The exhibition features four new projects, including Bat Nut, an interactive memorial that begs visitors to prove their loyalty to the memory of the artists' deceased pet bird, Pudding. Watcher is a virtual convenience store steward that uses motion-tracking to ignore visitors and aim attention at Focus Envy, the oil painting across the room. The time Watcher spends looking at Focus Envy affects an internal score system, prompting Watcher to form hand signs that indicate his "favorite" quadrant of the painting. Each work employs RND and state machine mechanics commonly found in video games to give NPCs and virtual environments a most basic semblance of artificial intelligence or verisimilitude. Easy Ultra Fine (the installation that shares the show's name) is an absurdist meditation on the value of virtual objects in a game environment. This value can be contingent on how an object is used, found, obtained, or for its promised potential, particularly when a player is given no explanation or use for an object, and may never be. In video games, virtual objects (susceptible to digital decay as they are) become markers for shared experiences in our collective memory, just like any reproducible object has the potential to. Drawing connections between the ephemeral nature of virtual collectables, simulation and replication, the aesthetic abundance of convenience stores, and utopic As Seen on TV products, Easy Ultra Fine beckons broader questions—why do full inventories dissuade gamers from erasing a save file? Does a virtual object, just like any advertised product, present infinite potential or immediate and irredeemable obsolescence? -- Jenna Caravello (she/her) is a Los Angeles-based artist working with animation, VR, motion capture, and video game platforms. Her single-channel and interactive works explore the role of narrative in personal, collective, and digital memory. Using the tools and conventions of animation and video game industries, Jenna examines game logic and cartoon language, and engages with science-fantasy, world-building, and techno-mysticism. Her research seeks out humanity, absurdity, and vulnerability where computer culture, folklore, and analog mundanity intersect. Jenna received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation and Film/Video Production from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and holds an M.F.A from the California Institute of the Arts in Experimental Animation. She has directed and produced animated sequences for music videos, advertising, and feature films that garnered awards at Sundance, Cannes, and the 2016 and 2020 Emmy Awards. Jenna’s work has been featured by Noisey (Vice), NPR, Impose, The Fader, Magnet Magazine, Stereogum, Directors Notes, and Gorilla vs. Bear. Her films have screened at venues and film festivals internationally, including the Melbourne International Animation Festival, the National Taiwan Arts Education Center, the Raindance Film Festival, the GIRAF International Animation Festival, and Slamdance. She is the recipient of a 2018 Jules Engel Award from CalArts and a 2018 Princess Grace Award in Film.
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