Brenna Murphy: Cavrncode
March 31 2014
Portland-based Brenna Murphy produces virtual environments, installations, music, and collage in a continuous, overlapping, polymathic stream. Ambient, surreal, and participatory, the games she creates are like expanded mental spaces, where protagonists are encouraged simply to wander and explore.
Released with support by American Medium and presented through First Look, “CAVNRCODE” is an ambitious work by Murphy: a vast expanse of digital terrain, composed of a patchwork of psychedelic textures, tweaked out statues, and reverse-engineered horizons. Void of the goals and levels typical of games, instead, the work encourages intuition and ambling, inviting viewers to take a long, undirected walk and discover facets of this unique 3-D environment from different vantage points. Curator Ceci Moss has described Murphy as being “interested in the way consciousness and the brain respond to digital technology,” and that she “operates in tandem with her digital tools in a meditative process to produce repetitive, mind-bending mandala-like structures that play on the viewer’s concentration and awareness.”1 Indeed, the experience of “CAVRNCODE” works against the speed and informational overload of many online experiences: it is like a labyrinth built of tunnels of vision and multiple perspective, a downloadable “vibrating ecosystem,” and a unique synesthetic realm produced by a highly original and interdisciplinary artist.2
Established in 2012 and co-organized by the New Museum and Rhizome, First Look is a digital art commissioning and exhibition program representing the breadth of art online—from interactive documentary, to custom-built participatory applications, to moving image-based works, and art for mobile VR. Encompassing a substantial array of work that continues to expand, First Look explores the formal, social, and aesthetic possibilities of emerging technologies on the web.