CARSON LYNN


Carson Lynn is an artist who through the usage of digital materials, sublime landscapes, and exploration within gamespaces, creates artworks as a queering of heterocentric photographic conventions and game systems.

Carson received a MFA from ArtCenter College of Design in 2020, and also received a BFA in Photography and Imaging from the same school in 2015.

Carson is currently based in Ventura, CA.

︎ - carson@carsonlynn.com
︎ - @carsontlynn
︎ - carsonlynn
︎ - carsonlynn







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STORM AND STRESS (2020)



Storm and Stress was created for Silicon Valet’s Lot Residency #07, which took place on their Instagram page on August 1st and 2nd, 2020. The image was divided into 9 sections, with each section also containing a unique short machinima clip. Behind-the-scenes information was also posted to the page’s stories, which were then cataloged in a highlight.

Following the residency, there also was an artist talk on August 13th, 2020, with Wade Wallerstein, the founder of Silicon Valet and the co-director of TRANSFER Gallery, and myself. The talk took place virtually inside VRChat in a custom-made space, designed by me.

You can watch an archive of the talk on Silicon Valet’s Twitch channel.

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Within these glitchscapes, I can be as queer as I want.





I WANT (2020)




I Want is a six channel video installation made as my graduate thesis show. Originally intended to be a public exhibiton in March of 2020, the installation now exists as a virtual recreation. This virtual installation can be experienced by downloading the application here. Mac and Windows versions are available.

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Gamespaces are often coated in a photorealistic veneer: .jpg skins warped onto three- dimensional geometric skeletons. Underneath the illusions are unsanctioned parallel universes. Faux flora dots the surface of these iridescent sublime glitchscapes. This is only possible to see through a refusal of a game's systems and code: glitching, modding, and hacking. There's a term to describe these tactics of intervention: countergaming.

If my interest is in making game environments into queer spaces for unlearning and introspection, is it enough to just inject queerness into the code of the game? A heterocentric game with a rainbow filter is still a heterocentric game: a queer ludic experience needs to be built from the ground up to incorporate queerness at its core.

Machinima, the practice of making films using video game frameworks and assets, could be the answer. By translating the game away from its original context and boundaries, new queerer realities can emerge. There are no restrictive gameplay mechanics or invisible walls. The landscape becomes a stage. The player becomes a camera.


ODDBALL (2019)


Oddball is a short machinima film with all footage taken directly from Halo 2, with the help of the Project Cartographer mod. All text is appropriated from real conversations between players in various Halo games, taken from YouTube videos uploaded between 2006 - 2010.

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On May 6th, 2015, queer games critic Aevee Bee penned a personal essay titled “I love my untouchable virtual body”. In the text, she talks about the dodge mechanic in the action role-playing game Bloodborne, which negates all harm dealt to the player during an incredibly brief window of time. Bee wishes that this evade was a superpower she possessed: “that if you could fit every moment of pain in that one tenth of a second you could be invincible for the rest of your life.”

But your character in Halo 2 is not meant to directly avoid damage like this. Halo’s virtual bodies are meant to be used, mangled, and riddled with bullet holes. Corpses are strewn across battlefields to show where danger resides. In the Oddball gametype, skulls are objectives and props that are handled like bowling balls and not like the remains of a human being. The only way to heal wounds is to find cover and wait: to slink away and hide from the violent world.

In 2004, Halo 2 was the first game I played online with a public voice chat, and with that my first encounters with homophobic language. These outbursts, most often due to rage, always centered around the body: physical harm, rape, and death. My real body was never in peril, but my developing queer self was under attack through the internalization of this homophobia. This queer self had to heal, and the only way was to find cover and wait.




SELECTIVE FIRE / FICTIONHEARTED (2018)


Selective Fire and Fictionhearted were two exhibitions that spawned from a single body of work, made by combining large-format analog photography with renders of appropriated three-dimensional objects.

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Selective Fire, the first exhibition, was initially created as an introspective attempt to analyze my hatred for real-life guns and my love for virtual guns and whether or not these two dispositions could coexist. Physical and fictional landscapes were covered by weaponry and childhood playthings, blurring what was “real” and what wasn’t. In retrospect, I don’t think this was what Selective Fire was truly trying to convey. 

Fictionhearted, created in collaboration with Brian Barr, got much closer to the true significance of this project. By focusing on our obsessions with symbols and avatars, something completely new was created: something that does not try to establish a hierarchy between virtual and physical, but instead utilizes the spaces between discernible contexts to spawn new fictions.




GHOST SCANS (2017)



Ghost Scans was created by taking photogrammetric scans of video game environments and abstracting them through application of multicolored textures. Then, in an effort to “actualize” these digital images, I printed them out, rescanned those prints, and applied further edits.

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Ghost Scans was initially published online with a cryptic description, meant to leave its creation up for interpretation, though I left a clue in the title. In Destiny, a video game that appears often in my work, players can use their pseudo-AI “Ghost” companion to scan environments. In fiction, these three-dimensional scans would be used for reconnaissance purposes. By utilizing an approximation of that technology, I wanted to embody my avatar by creating the artwork he could potentially make.