IT’S DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE! TAKE THIS
The title piece of IT’S DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE! TAKE THIS is an ambitious 30-minute-long CGI film featuring ever-changing cinematic sequences from an imaginary video game which follows the ambiguous “hero” undergoing numerous metamorphoses. Combining fantasy, erotica and body horror, the film unravels and challenges the amped-up constructed masculinity that video game avatars embody as well as the associated idealistic connotations of progress, growth and transformation. Here external worlds merge with internal ones, the body’s selfhood untangles from surface and emotions flood in technicolour form.
Within the gallery a previous film work, I AM ERROR (2021) charts the same hero’s altering form through different worlds and encounters, but here it is fractured, broken into multiple segments or echoes, playing out in repetition on monitors on the gallery floor. The titles of both of these film works are taken from the popular video game The Legends of Zelda, an action-adventure format which follows a courageous young man, Link, and the magical Princess Zelda, fighting to save a magical land in a vividly realised world. Issa’s titles IT’S DANGEROUS TO GO ALONE! TAKE THIS and I AM ERROR disentangle assumptions and longstanding narratives, bringing forth fluidity and queer possibility.
The visual flooding that occurs in both films is echoed in a series of 3D-rendered sculptures presented throughout the gallery populating this dreamscape. Larger-than-life iridescent flies sit on the ground, giant Styrofoam bodily parts lie alongside amorphous semi-representational shapes and sprouting and/or perishing flowers. The sculptures are familiar, yet deliberately glitched and unreal, anchoring the dreamscape to the space and reality via their familiarity, but inducing, at the same time, a sense of disembodiment due to their artificiality and “imperfections”.
Issa’s hyper-synthetic glitched aesthetic is at times seductive but often disconcerting and eerie, creating unique worlds of subtle storytelling full of visual and conceptual juxtapositions. Across the film and sculptures, the viewer experiences scenes of destruction and decay against scenes of resilience and rebirth. These juxtapositions offer Issa a platform to explore themes of identity, social binaries and norms. Rather than just embracing the potential of computer-animated worlds, Issa challenges it by inverting their “logic” and questioning their highly politicised and constructed nature. The world created by Issa is a gateway to engage, reflect and imagine new ways of looking and thinking about how we live and experience the digital and real world.