Ryan Whittier Hale uses video game engines as a tool to create mesmerising digital artworks. His work Untitled, 2015 experiments with the digital aesthetics found in 3D design and animation, where landscapes, human figures and forms defy the limitations of reality and resembles something between liquid, stone and flesh.

Hale uses these works to challenge our interest in fostering deeper connections with an ever-advancing virtual reality. To what extent we are willing to invest emotionally in these virtual worlds and avatars? Can they sufficiently reciprocate intimacy and become a replacement for real world interaction? Hale’s uncertainty is depicted through uncanny mannequin-like figures that inhabit vacant virtual environments amongst floating rock forms. The works demystify the illusion of the space and form in which they present.

It appears inevitable that we will become more and more accustomed to using avatars that serve as surrogate selves to simulate and mediate human interaction. Hale’s work questions whether we are becoming too comfortable with mediated communication, and whether we will be able to cope with real human intimacy. Through a multidisciplinary approach Hale develops these ideas as a way of testing the boundaries that exist between the virtual and real worlds.

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