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Jess Johnson and Simon Ward at the National Gallery of Australia

Jess Johnson and Simon Ward: Terminus
5 May – 26 Aug 2018
Contemporary Art Galleries

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.
Joseph Campbell, ‘The Hero with a Thousand Faces’

With their pioneering use of virtual reality, artists Jess Johnson and Simon Ward hold a unique position amongst contemporary art practitioners. Johnson’s drawings are transformed from analogue into digital, and from solo practice into cross-disciplinary collaboration, forming the basis of this virtual experience. Animated by Ward and enriched with input from Smith and Clarke, the result is Terminus: a mysterious universe of alien architecture populated by humanoid clones and cryptic symbols, explored via a network of travellators and gateways.

Terminus presents a quest, a choose-your-own adventure into the technological. Prepare yourself for a slippage of time and space as your journey propels you through five distinct realms: you will pass through Fleshold Crossing; take respite in Known Unknown; lose yourself within Scumm Engine; bravely face impending danger in the tower of Gog & Magog; and experience the brink of sensory overload in the psychedelic scenes of Tumblewych.

We wish you luck in your navigation of the many optical challenges and visual puzzles of the virtual. Should you succeed in your quest, the mysteries of what you ultimately seek will be revealed: an understanding that reality is not fixed but both malleable and multiple.