Jon Rafman

Player Character

“I’m interested in this age-old question of what it is to be human and what it is to experience the world. And I think technology has always reflected how we experience the world, who we are as individuals, and how we relate to ourselves, each other and the past.”–Jon Rafman

A visionary interpreter of the troubled human mind, of the streams of consciousness and the anxieties of the present, Jon Rafman explores the all-encompassing impact of the virtual within the representation of our time. Through an immense vocabulary drawing from internet, virtual worlds, video games and devious areas of the web, Rafman creates surreal and absolute landscapes in which he nourishes a constant sense of loss and alienation, of resurrection and death, of instinct and memory, of extreme sacrifice and rebirth. In a world oppressed by obsession, paranoia, a sense of emptiness and loss, the artist leads us into the most concealed realms of the web, among the gooiest drives that replace reality and at the same time embody it.

Within an absorbing architecture created by the BB studio (Fabrizio Ballabio, Alessandro Bava) which distorts the coordinates of the room and creates a claustrophobic and befuddling environment, Rafman presents Player Character, the main character of a video game, who lives in a virtual world, where violence, abyss, transformation and rebirth fuel a game with no rules, no memory and without a future.

Here, video works, films, images and sounds processed by artificial intelligence are interwoven into a totalizing experience that takes the viewer through Rafman’s production of the past twenty years. Two sinuous walls divide the environments inhabited by characters from the artist’s new video game, SS Laguna (prologue) (2024), premiered in Italy for this occasion. New video stations present the series of Egregores I, II, III, IV, the latter made entirely through artificial intelligence and created on the occasion of the exhibition, in a short circuit between the sacred and the profane. The term “egregore” coined in the field of occultism, defines a mental field, a thought-form that manifests as an emanation of a large group of people sharing a common cultural context. Rafman, once again, speaks of the collective self, through an infinite archive of images that seem to be generated from one another. Within Rafman Cinema the artist also presents the filmography from the last twenty years (2004–2024), from the initial works of Advice for a Prophet (2004) or City Girls (2005) to his most iconic films including Dream Journal (2016-2019), Minor Daemon (2021), Punctured Sky (2021), programmed in cycles. Also, Nine Eyes (2008-) scrolls the endling atlas of images captured by Google Street View over the years: single moments locked in the flow of events through the neutral but merciless eye of technology. Finally, Rafman’s new album, Musique Pour le Chevalier Aux Fleurs (Classic) (2024) interprets new sounds through algorithms linked to the artist’s most cherished music. Accompanying the exhibition is a new production of sweatshirts made on demand in a limited edition, and the promo of the flipbook Player Character (2024), also on demand.

Jon Rafman
Player Character
Basement Roma, Rome
February 28 — May 23, 2024

Caption:
Jon Rafman, Player Character, Installation view Basement Roma
Courtesy: the artists and Sprüth Magers
Photo: Roberto Apa
© Jon Rafman

Basement Roma is a contemporary art center founded in Rome in 2012.
The exhibition program is generously supported by a circle of galleries, patrons and friends, and it is powered by CURA.

RAFMAN CINEMA – PROGRAM

On view through March 29, 2024
Minor Daemon Volume 1, 2022

April 03–April 20, 2024
Punctured Sky, 2021

April 24–May 23, 2024
Dream Journal, 2019