arebyte presents Rock Bottom, an exhibition by Abe Sugarman, the winner of hotel generation 2022, arebyte’s yearly programme mentoring the next generation of UK digital artists during the critical early stages of establishing a career in the arts.
Set inside a bottomless zone with no light, deep inside a cryptic ocean trench, Rock Bottom is a choose-your-own-adventure journey composed of games, video works and sculpture. Through this meandering twilight zone, concepts of queer time, queer survival, and Jellyfish Temporality escape and converge into animated characters and their unsettling environments. The exhibition implements emergent ecological systems, the materiality and power of restarting, and non-linear lifecycles as metaphorical pointers to introduce the narrative of survival; encouraging players to understand how (un)localised deep-rooted trauma and catatrophe can be comprehended.
Bridging societal, interdependent and environmental parameters, the exhibition installation encourages players to become entangled within the game world and its material replication, through life-size monsters and theatre-esque props surrounding and backdropping the playable works. This newly commissioned exhibition concludes arebyte's 2022/23 programme Sci-Fi which looks at fictioning and alternative futures through a series of exhibitions, live performances, online experiences and educational activities.
The gallery is divided into zones dedicated to different areas of investigation within the exhibition: Northern values and patriotism, the possible productive power of the transitory Jellyfish lifecycle, and reconciling with fear and temptation of the unknown. The installation forms a web of locations within Rock Bottom; provincial garden centres, your ex's house, and a bodiless town centre in post-Industrial-somewhere all feel familiar but otherworldly.