Fragment Ecologies: Artist StatementThe walled world can be a prison, a container that will never open and a garden, manicured, which will never be allowed to go to seed. The pieces in Everest Pipkin's Fragment Ecologies exhibition consider the edges, borders, and possibilities of walled gardens in games and play. Here, Everest offers deeper insight into the themes behind their work.
“And so, faced with these periods of solitude, the topo-analyst starts to ask questions: Was the room a large one? Was the garret cluttered up? Was the nook warm? How was it lighted? How, too, in these fragments of space, did the human being achieve silence?” – Bachelard, The Poetics of Space
Every game is a fragment world – bordered by the rules of its logic. These boundaries may be spoken out loud (don’t step on the cracks! the floor is lava!) or maybe programmed (the end of traversable ground, the rim of the map, an invisible wall that plays a bonk sound effect when you walk into it). Such edges, encircling, make the space of play. These worlds are defined by their boundaries – they exist floating.
Fantasies of worlds apart are well reflected in Utopian thinking, both historical and contemporary. They are seen in stories of The Fortunate Isles, in Arcadia, Belovodye and Eden. Such visions are equally present in Earthships and self-sufficient architectural movements, which reject networked externality in favour of internal production. The fragment world is in sci-fi fiction of barren planets turned paradise, or sea platforms sporting forests, and it is also in conjectures of minds and bodies as spaces complete and apart; each a garden, with all one might need growing.
Yet again, the bounded world is well-represented in horror, Utopia inverted; in them is isolation, confinement, loneliness. The walled world can be a prison, a container that will never open and a garden, manicured, which will never be allowed to go to seed.
The works in this show consider the edges, borders, and possibilities of walled gardens in games and play. From The Barnacle Goose Experiment’s isolated research dome to Drift Mine Satellite’s underground neighbourhood, or the endlessly generative bordered worlds of Mirror Lake and The Worm Room, or the walled self in bodies.html (The Perfectly Emulated Human) and Spiral House, the works in this show ask what it is to live – even temporarily – in an isolated fragment of space, and how it is that we can construct a home there.
Everest Pipkin, June 2023