Non-Player Character, 2021
live animation performance version, 19:26 & video work screening version, 14:00
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A monumental landscape image is screened in a large, dark space. Figures emerge between the weeping willows and the desert sands, between the field vegetation and the building walls. In fact, the training range at the IDF Shivta camp is reminiscent of a museum exhibition space or a state-of-the-art movie theatre. The training soldiers lie on the ground opposite the screen and have to identify, just like in a movie, who are the good guys and who are the bad; who should be shot and who should continue leading the herd to pasture.
Amir Yatziv looks at the training simulation as if it were a pastoral scene. The leaves sway in the wind, rain begins to fall. He observes the "extras" present throughout the film. These are the least important, least invested figures. In the gaming world from which these animations are derived, they are called Non-Player Characters (NPCs), those characters who are not given a lead role, waiting for the movie to unfold, for their turn to come. Their mode of action is planned in advance. Their sole purpose is to create an atmosphere, without influencing the events.
The animation invested in these figures is equally poor. Their movements are basic and repetitious—raising their hand to check their watch, swinging a leg, twisting the neck in a circular motion, over and over again. Not much time has been invested in building additional movements for these figures, but time is actually all they have at their disposal. Like the rest of us, they are waiting for something to happen.
A new character is introduced into the range—an avatar; a real actor wearing an animation suit that copies his movements onto the screen. The characters on screen imitate the person, who, in turn, imitates them in an endless loop of simulation that strives to create a reality, and of a reality imprisoned within endless simulation; an impossible vicious circle of characters that no one really sees, whether on or off-screen.
Actor Uri Dicker
CGI Yuliya Bogonos
Video Itay Marom
Stills Eyal Tagar
Post Omer Dolev
Music Terry Riley Shri Camel