Jordan Wolfson (US)


Real Violence, 2016
VR film with sound (1.30 min)


Violence is easy to find in both games and real life. As we strive to create ever more ‘real’ experiences in virtual worlds, do we interrogate how we experience them, and how they affect our sense of reality?

Jordan Wolfson abstracts violence in this artificially constructed world and makes us face it square on. Putting on the headset, you are plunged into an aggressive scene with no context, other than the highly ambiguous soundtrack: the chanting of a Hanukkah prayer. The only way to escape the shocking act before you is to close your eyes or remove the headset entirely.


It is impossible to know who you, as the viewer, are supposed to be - are you complicit, an innocent bystander, or an unknowable omniscient presence? With no context provided, we may examine our own position (and complicity) in relation to real acts of violence - palpably close for some while abstract for others - at a time when the far-right is rising again in many countries.


Jordan Wolfson (b. 1980) is an artist working across film, sculpture, installation and performance. He is based between Los Angeles and New York, USA.

Courtesy of the artist and Sadie Coles HQ, London.