Re*Action Hero



Catalogue: Re*Action Hero
Catalogue Text: Re*Action Hero by DX Raiden



Catalogue: Re*Action Hero
Published by Galerie Séquence, Chicoutimi, Canada, 1997


Re*Action Hero by DX Raiden
From Re*Action Hero catalogue
Published by Galerie Séquence, Chicoutimi, Canada, 1997


The punch bag references and explicates two bodies,- the body it is replacing and the body which is interacting with it. The bag therefore speaks of a multiple somatic presence yet hangs without having committed itself to either. Residing within the punchbag scenario lies the preparation for the 'real thing'. This is the time when bodies attempt to out maneouvre each other. The technicalities involved in this process shadow a number of tenets often attributed to the championing of progress - that is speed, durability and performance. The passage to realizing the dream of becoming champion and thus at the height of technology's pinnacle requires a perverse temporal obseletion; a cyclical motion which theoretically locates and prepares a challenger before the champion/product has had time to belt up. Thus the function of the challenger comes to represent transience, a velocity which usurps the limelight from the static position of champion. This discourse effectively displaces the dominant role of champion/ product as it situates the critical axis of the dialogue within the role of becoming. Cultural euphoria inhales the smelling salts of what could be ( the possibility of being even greater than before) and relieves itself with endless comparisons of previous statistics.


It is at this same juncture, although along an alternative trajectory that we can locate the 'promise' which was never realized. A promise that opens a space to interject alternative histories , comparisons or outcomes and begins the encounter with ' I could have been a contender'. After the bell, when ' if only things had been different' highlights the championing of narratives constructed around events of becoming. Hence the temporal and spatial dimensions of this mythical movement can be extended limitlessly by the massaging of fictive trainers (the audience). It is because these spaces to interject personal commentary's are opened up by becoming that the position of champion is rendered inactive (obsolete?) as it unifies all stories and trajectories to a singular position, a title/point which resolves its inherent contradictions within the locus of perspective which is number one. This closure of possibilities is precisely why the axiom of ' build them up to knock them down' rings clearly when the rounds of storytelling are exhausted, and the desire for a new product is manufactured by the relevant media. But in the world of Re*Action Hero there are no hopeful’s or would be's and what defines the body's presence here is its non presence and thus its ability to escape definition. Thus the body of information, the vital statistics which allow us to measure and hang narratives upon its frame are formatted by objectifying the unidentified. This body exists as a cultural phenomenon through its fictive creation, hence we fabricate the history, characteristics and future of it. With the storytelling mechanisms of reality becoming ever more abstract and the socialization of them ever more cabalistic, the fictive body increasingly needs fictive landscapes to reside in. This symbiotic fabrication provides some explanation as to why game playing has become an increasingly dominant system of fictive manufacturing. Not so much escapism ( as this honors a certain reality with being natural) as intrusion into the construction site of cultural storytelling.


Within the territory of the video game exists a 'non-place urban realm'. A location which is always ready to mutate according to your presence within it. Accordingly one can fall, jump etc through worlds/locations and it is in fact a testament to your skill as to how fast you can navigate through multiple spaces which echoes Virilio’s assertion that " the strategic value of the non - place of speed has supplanted that of place". In the players world the velocity maintained through re-location is testament to their reaction speed in the face of changing and unstable circumstances. (Here becoming is progress and being between stages affords the only time to reflect on your performance). In the supposed neutral space non - place of the gallery, time of reflection is given credence over time of reaction. A vision which underscores an anachronistic structure which itself attempts to decontextualize its existence from the specifics of locality. Thus traditionally the gallery has placed audiences not in a reactive context but in a context where they passively receive. Video game vision echoes the position of neutrality but re - locates it through a Cartesian dynamic of spatiality. That is outside, looking into a space and moving forward whilst objectively judging the ensuing landscape. As the landscapes on the punch bags are cleared of any signifiers of game playing such as players , scores, lives etc, they become markers of your position in the room and suggest you are within a physical incarnation of geographic game playing. Non place and non presence thus come to suggest a space where literally anything could happen, a space akin to Deleuze and Guattari's nomad "who's primary determination is to occupy a smooth space". As stasis equals death within the videogame scenario ( if you can't move beyond level 1 then you're game is over ) so to does it within the projection of the body to distant lands via communication systems. Geographical referent points which necessitate presence minus the chaos of the somatic.


As these systems provide and insist upon constant movement, the place which you exist in become analogous to the punch bags emptied of their contents. Gutless, they become hollow signifiers of space and place ; equivalent dynamics to those exerted upon the body by communication systems when demands are made of its signature but not its occupation, within the spatial realm. This necessarily affords the body a certain transience of identity or character anomalous to the choosing of your character within video games. Within the scenario of Re*Action Hero the audience physically become the players as they are surrounded by worlds which suggest physical interaction all be it a hollow interaction which satirizes both the galleries and the arcades models of interactive behavior.