Jacky Connolly creates dystopian videos and sculptures using graphics from gaming technology to explore conventions of narrative cinema, animation, and literature. Connolly’s animations often examine personal trauma, childhood, and alienation as it relates to the built environment.
Connolly realised her most recent video installation, ‘Descent Into Hell’, through a few different forms of technology. Some scenarios are rendered as photorealistic 3D animations, incorporating AI image enhancement and ‘deep fake’ audio-visual techniques. For others, she filmed within a modified version of the video game Grand Theft Auto V. The game engine’s built-in editor stores player-recorded scenes as data, which Connolly then altered and sequenced.
As an example, Connolly removes most of the violent signifiers for which the game is notorious, instead turning toward the minor characters and ambient details of its virtual setting. She describes the narrative arc of the video: “A woman is alone in her apartment in an empty, abandoned world. This opens onto a story of a woman in an alternate timeline on a journey through California. She rides freight trains, explores hidden corners of the city, and encounters strange happenings along the way.” Connolly named the video after a novel by Doris Lessing featuring an amnesiac whose body lies in a hospital bed while his mind roams elsewhere.
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