Walking on the Water
walking simulator, exhibition
The year 2020 is the year when people and the world are isolated from each other.
Because of the epidemic, people around the world are more or less trapped in their homes. In many parts of the world, governments are trying to control the epidemic by controlling their citizens’ mobility. In Paris, an old man with a chronic illness needs a doctor's note to go out; in Melbourne, traffic disappears every evening and people are confined to their homes; in every concrete-forested cities, access to nature is more and more difficult; airlines are closing down one after another and trains are empty of passengers.
One is relegated to an island in the middle of the ocean, standing still and alone in the water.
The simulated world is much more intimate with nature. Long before the epidemic, people living near the Arctic Circle would go to video sites to watch ships drifting in the Mediterranean, and desert dwellers would fall asleep to audio recordings of rain on their steps. Games take the simulation of the human experience one step further - everything is from the player's point of view, sounds and images are read and rendered in real time, and what you see and hear is always subtly different from what he or she does. Of all games, the most satisfying way to go far away, to nature, to somewhere else, is walking simulator. This is the kind of game where the environment itself becomes the absolute protagonist, where the story, characters, and action, if they exist at all, exist in a minimalist form, and where people experience the environment via exploration, navigation, and observation. The environment in walking simulators is a space of action that belongs to the player alone, as you move along the mountains and rivers unfold little by little, sometimes seemingly never ending, other times being circled by a maze.
It is an absolutely subjective nature, present and absent all because of you -- a small miracle of 2020