On April 1, 2016, Tom Richardson aka Tommy Chain was in Milan for GAME VIDEO/ART. A SURVEY and we interviewed him about his practice as an artist; the status of machinima; and the relationship between video art and video games.

Interview by Sara Agostinelli, Filming by IULM Communication, Editing by Mariacristina Maffeo. 

Tom Richardson (b. 1990, Hastings UK) is a British interdisciplinary artist and curator. Richardson holds a BFA in Film, Video & Integrated Media from Emily Carr University where he received the 2015 President’s Media Award for best installation. Recent solo exhibitions include “The Bureau of True Vision”, Spare Room, Vancouver (2016), and “The Day After Bataclan” READ Books, Vancouver (2016). Recent group exhibitions include Flux Gallery, Aceartinc.., Winnipeg (2015), Access Gallery, Vancouver (2014), and Super Art Modern Museum, NYC & online (2013). Richardson has also exhibited and performed throughout Europe and North America under the moniker “Tommy Chain”. Tragically, Tommy Chain was lost during a rare Canadian sandstorm en-route to exhibit in Winnipeg in August of 2015 and hasn’t been seen since. Richardson is a protégé of digital consciousness; he uses 3D computer graphics, video game engines, music, writing, and sculpture to create narrative vessels for the physical world. His works cover a diverse range of media from video installations to contained conceptual objects such as sculpture, photography, text, and painting. Via deadpan delivery and atypical association Richardson’s non-didactic use of research informs humorous, uncanny perspectives on contemporary technology, subjectivity, and conflict. Richardson lives and works in Vancouver, Canada.

A particularly interesting piece by Richardson is The Day After Bataclan (2016), which deals with media representation of terrorist attacks.

Tom Richardson, 2015 – ongoing
HD video, stereo sound
12:40 min.

As Richardson explains in his accompanying statement: 

"The Day After Bataclan was produced in response to the attacks that took place in Paris on Friday 13th November 2015. It is a refrain to Richardson’s installation Enduring Freedom (2015). Highlighting issues that remain ever relevant following the Brussels attacks of March 2016. The Day After Bataclan uses Counter Strike as a politicized material. The videogame consists of a terrorist vs. counter-terrorist combat narrative and was released in 2000, soaring to popularity during the Bush Administration’s war on terror. This simulation offers an idealized image of the War on Terror, in which the player is freed from the restraints of reality and can assume almighty power on the battlefield. The Day After Bataclan doesn’t pick sides; it strips the combat narrative from the game leaving a near-still tableau vivant in which a choreography of glances ensues between a motionless reclined woman, three paintings, and an UN soldier. The work is in response to the media spectacle following the attacks that spawned a simulacrum of social media algorithms, rightwing blaming, and leftwing shaming. It is a mimetic pause amid the confusion. The Day After Bataclan is for France, Belgium, Yemen, Syria, Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria, Somalia, and victims of conflict around the globe." (Tom Richardson)

Below is Richardson's Enduring Freedom (2015)

Tom Richardson, Enduring Freedom, 2015

Mixed-media sculpture & video
Dimensions variable, video 4.05 min.
HD video, stereo sound
Concrete, steel, extruded styrene, paint, c stand, TV


See more interviews here