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SODAS 2123 Artist in Residence, 2022

Throughout April 2022 at the SODAS 2123 residency, Bob Bicknell-Knight began developing a first-person interactive artwork.

“The Forest” (working title) is a work in progress, interactive artwork that places audience members into an abandoned mountainous area. An unknown event has caused the inhabitants of this place to leave long ago, allowing the surrounding wildlife to infect and transform the structures that have been left behind.

The work explores how relics and historical artefacts are perceived by future generations, surveillance culture, apocalyptic futures and the notion that human beings and our impact on the environment is virus-like, terra-forming and slowly obliterating the planet.

Through exploring the world and interacting with the artwork, viewers learn about the history of the space, slowly unravelling why this location may have been abandoned. Within the work participants are provided with a number of answers, from a rapture-like event occurring to the outbreak of a deadly virus.

The work is being produced using the game development software Unity, and features a 3D environment, running water, wind effects and digital bird song. Although the experience features revelatory moments, it’s also a reflective one, enabling audience members to go for a walk in the woods, take a seat by the river or watch artificially intelligent birds flying in the sky.

The installation was open to visitors at Swallow, a project space on the second floor of SODAS 2123 (Vitebsko g. 21, Vilnius).

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