Rindon Johnson (US)


Away with You, 2017

Three-channel video with sound (9.50min); installation environment


Racial bias is evident in many games. It manifests itself through invisibility and absence; a lack of black lead characters, or game design that fails to accurately depict black faces, bodies and hair. Many players are therefore forced to play a persona that is far removed from their own life, or serves as a poor imitation of their reality. As with many forms of media, repression can be felt in enabling certain bodies and stories to be visible, while omitting others.

Facial recognition software used in the basketball simulation video game NBA 2k16 cannot accurately read and output a black male face which doesn’t comply to certain stereotypes. In response to this, Rindon Johnson scanned his own face into the game’s avatar creator, “to see what sort of man [he] could become”. The seemingly absurd addition of a guided relaxation soundtrack amplifies the alienating effect of racial bias. Johnson asks, are we comfortable with it?

Rindon Johnson (b. 1990) is a poet and artist currently based in Berlin, Germany. His multi-media works generate tranquil, poetic images around recognition and alienation.

Courtesy of the artist.