Tabor Robak’s work employs computer generated imaging to create videos of invented worlds. Working in programs including Unity, After Effects, Photoshop and Cinema 4D, the artist explores a secondary, digital reality, rendered in what he refers to as a “Photoshop tutorial aesthetic” or a “desktop screensaver aesthetic.” His meticulously produced and filmed environments are cobbled together from sources both sampled and hand-modeled. The works are appropriative, both in their subject matter and aesthetic, using elements purchased and then edited for his purposes. They adopt the visual vocabulary of contemporary video games in order to isolate and comment upon digital space as an abstract fact, while simultaneously pushing up against the increasingly tenuous separation between perceptions of the digital and the real.
A single-channel piece titled 20XX explores an invented cityscape, made up of the artist’s favorite existing skyscrapers. The video acts as a tour of Robak’s city, consisting of ten-second still shots followed by pans to new locations. The glowing nighttime atmosphere, replete with neon lights and flickering, changing advertisements for real corporations, harkens to science fiction and cyberpunk. The title nods to a convention in videogames and anime, in which dates in the far future are listed as 20XX. The piece is a bittersweet ode to open world-video games, playing on their seductively immersive qualities, but aware of their isolation from the “real world” and human interaction.
Tabor Robak appeared in the group show Black Cake, curated by Alex Gartenfeld, at Team in January of 2013. His piece, Screen Peeking, was included in MoMA PS1’s ProBio, curated by Josh Kline, as well as Alex Gartenfeld and Sir Norman Rosenthal’s exhibition Empire State at the Palazzo delle Esposizioni in Rome and the 2013 Lyon Biennale.
Text: Team Gallery
Artist website: www.taborrobak.com