The Observer - 2019

HD Video

Duration: 13:30 continuous loop

The Observer provides a contemplative environment that feels both natural and synthetic, familiar and strange. It draws the audience into a world of moving abstract forms with their own rules of behavior. And we as observers can see new ways of being.

The Observer (1999-2019) and landscape / enter / life (1999-2020) mark a voyeuristic return to Emergence: a computer system that Allen developed in the late 1990’s, able to generate artificial life - an AI system that simulates life-like behaviors of animated artificial lifeforms. With these works Allen has created new contemplative videos akin to moving paintings that form a narrative through the same synthetic, unfamiliar world as The Bush Soul series. 

The viewer’s experience draws attention to the abstracted nature of the natural landscape which is designed in opposition to our obsession with the hyperreality in most CGI and game environments, and to the abstracted life-forms with their own rules of behaviour. In these works, the viewer becomes an observer to this closed artificial world and the life that inhabits it and, unlike The Bush Soul, is unable to influence or change its pattern of events.

Co-Commissioned by FACT, Liverpool. Additional funds by Intel Research Council

Exhibition History