Cover image of the review
Rainer Ciar, Marcel Davie and Friends, 2020-2023, website, acrylic, foam, beads, clay, CRT monitor, printed mousepad, satin plushies, floss filling, paper, semi-precious plastic, glass and metal beads, soft pastel, and conte crayon on canvas, Pari. Photo: Document Photography

Open World

6 May 2023
Pari 2 Apr - 28 May 2023

I begin writing this review by not writing: I pick my nails; I go to the IGA; I eat a samosa chaat from Harris Park. Standing outside Pari, I find myself thinking about Tāmaki Makaurau’s 2020 lockdown and my sudden obsession with computer games. Driven by some ineffable desire, I spent hours scrolling Trade Me—Aotearoa’s superior Gumtree—for a cheap PC, just so I could run Elder Scrolls’ Morrowind, an early open-world RPG that I used to play with my cute neighbour; I installed Sims but quickly realised I could make Single Serve Scramble Eggs irl; I downloaded IMVU so that I could go virtual clubbing with friends in Germany. But the game that stuck was Myst. Released for Macintosh in 1993, Myst has no tutorial, no quest guide, no objectives, no non-player characters, no obvious source of conflict. Instead, the player is left to explore a pixelated island, from where—through a combination of logic and extreme patience—they might travel through portals to other worlds. In a locked-down city, these virtual worlds represented an intoxicating possibility.

To read for free enter your email address.

Log in with your registered email address.

Memo can continue to publish free, quality, and independent weekly art criticism with the support of our readers. Consider becoming a Patreon supporter or making a donation.