David Cotterrell - Monsters of the Id

David Cotterrell's work spans video, audio, interactive media, artificial intelligence and hybrid technology. Derived from the artist's journeys to Afghanistan, Monsters of the Id tests our expectations of cinematic and media representation, presenting a series of new works that experiment with advanced display technologies. The exhibition captures the disorientation of a civilian observer within a militarised environment.

Upon entering the gallery, visitors are immersed in a landscape that crosses the physical and the virtual. The disquieting Observer Effect presents viewers with a projected image of a distant, self-absorbed population. As audiences remain within the space, this virtual community grows in number and becomes distracted by their presence.

Searchlight 2 reveals illusory human shadows traversing a low platform terrain, suggestive of the desert landscape as seen by an aerial drone. The unnerving movements of this unidentified population are computer-generated and directly mirror the actions seen in Observer Effect.

Apparent Horizon renders immersive, virtualised vistas of a desert landscape. As viewers, our role hovers between sublime reverie and the quiet anxiety between of periods of violence. The exhibition ends with a final cinematic flourish, enabling visitors to consider their role in the exhibition and its dialogue of control, observation truth and contradiction.

Monsters of the Id is a John Hansard Gallery exhibition co-curated with Helen Sloan, SCAN, and is accompanied by a new, fully illustrated publication. The development of the exhibition has been supported through residencies with the Joint Forces Medical Group in Helmand province and civilian agencies in the northern provinces of Afghanistan enabled by Wellcome Trust and the RSA, and supported by a Philip Leverhulme Prize for research, Danielle Arnaud, Sheffield Hallam University, Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England.