Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Indelible Simulations

March 04, 2001|RICHARD CHEVERTON

If you're one of the millions who made "The Sims" the top-selling computer game last year, you'll notice an odd similarity of those digital images to the work of artist Jon Haddock on the World Wide Web.

At first sight, Haddock's images look perfectly Sims-like, but then the saltwater-taffy colors coalesce into images that are both eerily familiar and creepy as hell. Instead of seeing a Sim in his roofless cyber-living room, there's an isometric image of Martin Luther King Jr. crumpled on the Lorraine Hotel balcony. Or Buddhist monk Quang Duc incinerating himself on a Saigon street corner. Or two teens with guns in the Columbine High School cafeteria.

Many of Haddock's images are all too familiar to Los Angeles news-watchers: Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson crumpled in the walkway; a rioter dancing around beaten trucker Reginald Denny. They're images based on pictures burned into our collective visual cortexes, but with skewed points of view.

Haddock has been producing this disquieting and weirdly funny stuff from his home in Tempe, Ariz., since early last year. The 20 images in all, grouped under the title "Screenshots" on his Web site, have been rustling with increasing velocity through e-mail and bulletin-board and cyber-magazine postings on the Web. The 40-year-old father of two, who runs Web sites for a school district, says he became very aware of media violence when his oldest son began watching TV. "It's hard to see that innocence destroyed," he says via e-mail, "and, of course, as a parent, I wanted to protect him as much as possible . . . Bitter laughter seems to be the only viable response to a lot of what I see going on."

Haddock's once-dormant art career has been reinvigorated by Screenshots, prints of which were first displayed at the Matthews Experimental Gallery at Arizona State University in September. Seattle's Howard House gallery will show the work in April; other prints will be part of a show titled "BitStreams," opening this month at New York's Whitney Museum of American Art.

*

With the artist's blessing, Screenshots can be downloaded as JPEG files (for personal, noncommercial use) from www.whitelead.com/jrh/screenshots/.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|