Playing the Apocalypse

v1.0 by: Michael Takeo Magruder, 2014

An algorithmic triptych reflecting on how the Book of Revelation's apocalyptic visions and narratives manifest in today's digital pop culture.

Installation Documentation (v1.0):

About the Artwork:

Throughout its history, the Book of Revelation has greatly influenced Western notions concerning the final days of humanity's existence. The prophesies outlined within the text have inspired countless generations of artists who have sought to depict and explore these stories in ways that were informed by and relevant to their own times.

Playing the Apocalypse is a triptych of digital 'paintings' that reflects on how the Book of Revelation's apocalyptic visions and archetypes manifest in today's digital pop culture. The artwork is exclusively created from in-game footage (of the artist playing) taken from the immensely popular third-person shooter Gears of War (Epic Games, 2006-11). The game's setting – a once beautiful but now ashen world called Sera that is home to humanity’s last survivors – is used to stage a set of scenic compositions that are reminiscent of the English Romantic painter John Martin's (UK, 1789-1854) apocalyptic landscapes, such as The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (1852) and The Great Day of His Wrath (1851-53). The work considers the ways in which Revelation has shaped the aesthetics and narratives of such imaginary worlds and our quests to 'win' salvation for humankind that we strive to enact within them.

Digital Media Documentation:

In Dialogue with:

Dr. Aaron Rosen [ academic 'reading' and context ]

With Thanks to:

Prof. Ben Quash [ academic project lead ] . Alfredo Cramerotti [ curatorial project lead ] . Gabrielle Magruder [ media production ]

Installation Documentation (v1.1):

Supported by:

Playing the Apocalypse v1.0 was produced in 2014 as part of De/coding the Apocalypse – a solo exhibition exploring contemporary creative visions inspired by and based on the Book of Revelation; presented by the Cultural Institute at King’s College London in partnership with contemporary art centre MOSTYN and the Department of Theology & Religious Studies at King’s. The artwork's research phase (2012-13) was funded by the Leverhulme Trust's artist-in-residence programme.

Artwork Requirements:

[ gallery ] Algorithmic audiovisual triptych (Adobe Flash) constructed with: three 47" led screens encased within custom gilded-frames; a high-specification computer system; and 2.1 sound system.

Online Resources and Reviews:



© TAKEO 2014-2018