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elliot hewgill

artist / games developer 

b. 1995

Lives and works in Glasgow 

2021 - Present         Goldsmiths University, MA Computer Games: Art and Design 

2014-2018                Central Saint Martins, BA (Hons) Fine Art 

My work is driven by an investigation into a number of highly specific online trends and phenomena including: Life-hacking, fan-artwork, clickbait and music-genre-mashups. Through a process of immersive visual research and subsequent interventions I attempt to conduct a sincere and comprehensive enquiry into these sub-cultures and the communities associated with them. Research through participation and hands-on testing supersedes the production of finalised art objects. Subject to this, the work doesn’t assume one predetermined or fixed medium. Rather, the tangible outcomes of my practice are specific to each new subject I approach, assuming the format which most effectively questions, communicates and drives discussion.

Selected Work

Selected Exhibitions

2018

Degree Show One, Central Saint Martins

This is an Art School, Tate Exchange

Hotel Generation Proposal Material

Above is a moodboard collecting selected visual research including: Screenshots from Terry Gilliam's Brazil (1985) , SimCity4 Rush Hour (2003), YouTube video's showing how to drown a Sim in the pool, Japanese Dekotora trucks, theme park maps and a diagram of Jeremy Bentham's panopticon prison drawn by Willey Reveley in 1791.

Below are a few preliminary sketches and maquettes for my proposed artworks. 

Multi-Story (2023), Videogame 

Multi-Story is a short narrative game which looks at the latent horror within the hostile architecture of underground parking structures. This setting acts as a poignant example of non-space, a phrase coined by Marc Augé to describe “anthropological spaces of transience where human beings remain anonymous”. 


The game takes cues from J.G Ballad's Crash (1973), the work of Junji Ito and David Cronenberg as well as survival horror games like Silent Hill 2 (2001) and Parasite Eve (1998). The story follows a lost office worker’s futile attempt to find an exit from the carpark they are inexplicably trapped in. With the route to the surface blocked they must progress downward, learning and internalising the obtuse laws of a space not designed for them. 

NOAH DUNBAR:

Dialogue - Narrative Design

ELLIOT HEWGILL:

Concept - Modelling and Animation - Development Original Artwork

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KabelGeist (2018), Video installation

Dual Video (5:00 Mins), Orange Cable, Cable Clips, Clear Silicone with Assorted Cables, Plug Socket
dimensions variable

Voiced by Justin McKenzie
Script written in collaboration with Bette Belle Blanchard

 

KabelGeist is the result of an investigation into the cumbersome physicality of electronic cabling. Personified here as a winding length of cable pinned to the gallery wall, the titular KabelGesit is a fictional yokai demon invented by the artist. In a ranted monologue this modern day demon gives their opinions on some of the various productivity-hacks found online, which humans employ to keep cables under control. In this way the work seeks to show an alternative perspective on the ideologies which underpin and validate the production of life-hacking media. 

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ProfessionalTheatre (2022), Videogame 

Professional Theatre is inspired by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo's series of drawings Divertimenti per li ragazzi (Diversions for Children) which follow the exploits of Punchinello, a popular character from the Italian Commedia dell'arte. In a slum inhabited by hoards of identical companions Punchinello encounter and act out a variety of scenarios. This series is one I continue to revisit in my work via drawings, games and animations. To me the multiplicity of this fool-like character acts as a vibrant allegory for unfathomable numbers of gamers  independently opening the same loot boxes and living the same fantasies.

In this game the player must locate masks hidden around the colourful piazza, taking cues from its exuberant characters. NPC's give different dialogue depending on which mask you are currently wearing. 

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Physical Clickbait (2017), Installation

A 1.5 meter red circle with a scrolling LED sign displaying the headline of a fictional Clickbait article. The circle is moved at 2 hour intervals to highlight various other works in a show. 
With each move the headline on the sign is changed based on the work which is circled at the artist’s discretion. 


The labelling of artworks in such crude terms as, ‘You won’t believe what this artist did with just a pen and paper’, undermines and trivialises the complexity of the artistic processes. This action demonstrates the lack of control artists have over interpretation of their work(s) as well as the shifting or reduction of meaning which can occur when cultural objects are placed online, either by the artist or the public. 

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Life Hack Curatorial (2016), Exhibition and Workshop

Life-Hack Curatorial was a group exhibition curated by the artist. The show uses a desk space as the stage for an exhibition, with the associated culture of life-hacking providing the tools, curatorial objects and frames by which the artworks are displayed. Objects or assemblages such as a toilet-roll-phone-speaker are appropriated into the context of an art exhibition.

 

The show uses life-hacking and DIY craft cultures as a lens, through which to look at pervasive ideas and myths of productivity.​ In a time when funding for the arts is being systematically cut, are life-hacks the secret weapon of the creative entrepreneur? or are they symptomatic of the neoliberal notion that individuals are the authors of their own fate? 

Life-Hack Studio was a companion workshop where participants were invited to constructing DIY or improvised phone stands. Working from a show reel compiling these videos, participants are invited to assemble and test their own phone stands, using the materials provided.

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Art Enthusiast (2017), Website, LED Sign and press release

ArtEnthusiast is a news and media outlet, initiated by the artist for the group exhibition Pre-Sliced Orange Segments; The aim of of which was to rampantly promote the exhibition via website and social media platforms whilst simultaneously reducing its content into short clickbait-style list articles.

All information included in the articles was sourced from the artist's websites without their permission or any dialogue with them. In attempting to make the work appealing and accessible in the broadest terms possible, ArtEnthusiast systematically undermines each artist’s intentions.

 

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