Bob Bicknell-Knight

The Village, 2020 - ongoing

Video game

The currently in production artwork, The Village, will be an interactive video game, placing viewers into an abandoned village where an unknown event has caused the inhabitants to leave long ago, allowing the surrounding wildlife to infect and transform the man-made structures left behind.

The work will explore how relics and historical artefacts are perceived by future generations, alongside exploring 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 will learn about the history of the space, slowly unravelling why it may have been abandoned. Within the work participants will be provided with a number of answers, from a rapture-like event occurring to the outbreak of a deadly virus. The work will have many elements to uncover, rewarding audience members that dedicate time and energy to exploring the environment.

The new work will explore a number of ideas surrounding the notion of contagion, from the virus like relationship that humans have with the planet, each other and with the object orientated existence that we reside within, alongside commenting upon our connection to historical objects.

The piece is foregrounded by in-depth research into world building and the affect that nature has on various buildings and objects over substantial amounts of time. I'm currently researching various historical, catastrophic events, and using those as inspiration to be used as possible reasons as to why the village in the artwork has been abandoned and left.

As the work is an interactive video game experience, audience participation will be incredibly important in uncovering the world and understanding what has happened within the digital space. The work is being produced using the game development software Unity, and will have a realistic 3D environment, complete with running water, wind rushing through the trees and digital bird song.

How you understand and perceive the experience will depend on how long you spend investigating your surroundings as there will be multiple references and hints embedded throughout the village. There will be no finalised answer as to why the location has been left, but through playing the game you will learn that religious members of the community predicated that a rapture was imminent, a war had recently begun with a neighbouring village and an unknown illness was spreading from person to person.

The work will be playable by one person, and would last around 5 – 20 minutes, depending on how much time the audience member would spend exploring the created world.

The Village, 2020 - ongoing

Screenshot

The Village, 2020 - ongoing

Screenshot

The Village, 2020 - ongoing

Screenshot

The Village, 2020 - ongoing

Screenshot

The Village, 2020 - ongoing

Screenshot