At first glance, the objects in Takeshi Murata‘s CGI still lifes seem like a random assortment of inside jokes: a coconut, a ketchup bottle, a pipe and lighter, some old VHS tapes from the 1980s, cans of Coors Light, a Dilbert coffee mug. But the digital prints, which were part of an exhibition earlier this summer at the San Francisco gallery Ratio 3, use a hokey premise to create a sense of digital vertigo.
The show’s title, Get Your Ass to Mars, references a line from the cheesetastic science-fiction horror movie Total Recall, where Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character goes on a virtual vacation that ends up being the real thing. But that distinction between what’s real and what’s an illusion is at the heart of the tension-–and confusion–- that comes with looking at Murata’s prints. Even those closest to the work aren’t completely sure what’s real–not that it matters. “There is a real-life McDonald’s cup somewhere, but all the imagery in the prints is generated with in a 3-D modeling and rendering software,” Michael Guidetti, gallery manager of Ratio 3, told Co.Design.
The New York-based artist has traditionally worked with animated, time-based video that loops over and over again, and he was one of the first visual artists to experiment with the idea of “datamoshing,” in which the pixilated images become the fuel for abstract work. But with these prints, he has gone in the opposite direction, emphasizing stillness, tension, and pictorial illusion as the objects rest in a timeless abstract space.