Unnecessary Journeys
Alan Butler
3D video simulation, stereo audio, duration variable, 2023
Alan Butler Unnecessary Journeys Production still Realtime 3 D simulation Stereo audio 2023

Blurring the line between crisis and entertainment, an increasingly common sight unfolds. In the middle of an extreme weather event, a reporter places themselves at risk, battling a storm to deliver the news.

Taking place in the topologically accurate 3D landscape of California's Yosemite National Park, Unnecessary Journeys is a real-time simulation that follows a weather reporter as they attempt to defy a storm. From this climate-altered Yosemite, she scream-reads My First Summer in the Sierra (1911) – the journal of John Muir, which was once instrumental in the creation of the park. The audio of the simulation is produced from a live audio feed from computer fans, and as the storm rages on, it affects the lighting in the exhibition space. The reporter, barely audible above the storm, ignores the environmental collapse around them, and pleads with the viewer to consume the lyrical account of an iconic wilderness that once was.

Pointing to the long legacy and role of image-making technologies in mythologising the Western notion of Nature, Unnecessary Journeys questions the lines between clickbait content and anxiety-porn, and reality and its representation.

With support by Culture Ireland

Alan Butler explores material and philosophical ideas about how imagery and meaning function in technologically mediated realities. He is a member of the collective ANNEX who represented Ireland at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2020.