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The Lack: I knew your voice before you spoke. A conversation with Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley

With this ambitious new commission, Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley alerts us to meteoric gulfs in the world as we know it. The earth has changed and the choices we make now will reconstruct how we navigate it. Presented at the historic Arthurstone Library in Stobswell, Brathwaite-Shirley presents an art video game that allows audiences to interact and perform with the work. The decisions taken by participants will influence every element of the world being created throughout the course of the evening.

At Keiller Centre audiences are invited to imagine their own “mid-apocalyptic” resetting of the world, through zine making and poster printing. Audiences can choose their own story, make their own game, and consider what they would do, what they would be, and even reconsider the very particles of their being, in Brathwaite-Shirley’s proposed new world. In collectively creating this new sphere, prints, zines and ideas will fill the space throughout the night.

Danielle Brathwaite Shirley says:

The voice of a lost God has returned to earth, changing the fabric of the world as we know it. These changes favour no one and instead shift the world towards chaos. As the world shifts its ripples reorganise the DNA in everything, making what was once impossible, possible. Two bodies cross paths during this time. Two bodies with secret orbits. Two bodies battling as, married, insecure, desperate, fetishised, cheating, unlucky.

Both of them are running out of time. The thing is, the new world they find themselves in will be determined by you. What world will you build? What references will you bring? What mistake will you make? You will make mistakes. It’s up to you how to fix these…

A conversation with Danielle about the work

Danielle, you’re making an interactive video game for Art Night! Can you tell us a bit more about it? 

I am making this game using UPBGE, an engine that is an offshoot of the 3d modelling programme Blender. Honestly I love this engine but as not many games have been made with it its not taken seriously in the grand scheme of engines. I’m trying to change that and see what it could be used for.

The game I am building is called The Lack. It stars in a fictional world where the voice of a lost god has returned. Its return causes the laws of physics to rewrite themselves. Through playing the game you get to experience those who are present during this transformation. 

It’s a messy game that will be played by physically stepping in a crater. Interaction through the game not only comes from pushing buttons also, sometimes the game will ask those in the space to provide something. This could be a conversation, voice acting, music , chants. 

I think it’s best to think about it as a rule changer. The more you play the more you change the rules of the space in game and In reality.

At NEoN Digital Arts, we’ve loved hearing you talk about zines and how interested in our collection, when you had your first site visit here. Can you tell us a bit about your own relationship with zines?

I am an avid zine lover. I feel you get a range of stories that often stay within a zine and never leave. Zines have this way of pulling a story out of someone who thought they were not ready to tell a story. In fact this whole project started with a zine I did myself. 

I often have rules I try and stick to when building my 3d worlds and zines are often approached with limits in mind (time, money etc). For me these limitations allow an essence of someone’s soul to be captured in a snapshot of making. 

A snapshot that is often honest, rough and loud.

Remember, you can help contribute to Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley’s Art Night installation at Keiller Centre on Saturday June 24th, 11am-2pm.

NEoN Digital Arts, Keiller Centre, 3 Chapel Street, DD1 1DQ

The drop-in zine and poster making session will use three prompts set by Danielle, encouraging us to imagine our own “mid-apocalyptic” resetting of the world, creating our own adventures. Creations will then be added to Danielle’s Keiller Centre installation as we fill the room with our own stories, forever placing these histories on the wall for all to see. The final installation will be viewable from 7pm-1am, as part of Art Night Dundee. All materials will be provided.

The venue has wheelchair access, the room can accommodate a wheelchair, and there is a wheelchair-accessible toilet.

In addition, a hearing Induction Loop is available with staff available on-site to provide support during the event. If you have any questions regarding access, please do get in touch at [email protected].

Co-commissioned by Art Night, NEoN Digital Arts and Serpentine.