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Synthetic Dreams '

Worlds lit by the blue light of laptop screens, where crustaceans ride the bus and sharks reside in the sewer pipes is where the artist Tilly P-M makes their home. In this world the mundanity collides with the surreal as if in some misremembered fever dream.

Artist: Tilly P-M

Editor: Luke Cassidy Greer

NAR : ‘deer bus tour’ takes the form of a video game assembled from a collage of images, videos and rough 3D models produced by Tilly P-M. By standing within a wire frame bus shelter we find ourselves suddenly transported aboard a blocky bus as the journey begins. Passively we can sit at the window watching nonsensical worlds pass by; from a dusty landscape of brush and rock we eventually find this setting giving way to the mottled hues of depths below the sea. ‘We are taking a shortcut. You may want to hold your breath’ the synthesised voice of our conductor informs us.  Like the bus itself we move through the vehicle as if floating, we see our driver, the wolf, frozen mid-howl at the wheel and only speaks to us in a language not immediately recognised. We return to our seat beside a cut-out form resembling a crustacean that flickers with the glow of a video emanating from its skin – they urged us to sit elsewhere. We settle, observing the alien landscape drift by, feeling a nagging sense of absence. The freedom the medium of games provides is somehow subverted; our actions are limited yet gradually there comes a feeling that in this passive state a potential to self create exists. We are not the protagonist, as might be expected, but rather an observer in the created world.

This is a sample of one of our issue 4 articles. Issue 4 launches digitally on Friday September 29th, with physical issues available from Thursday October 5th 2023.

             : How do you remember your body? 


             : I’m not sure I do… I know I am there but I can’t necessarily place a form… that’s perhaps the haziest part of it. There is the certainty that my body is occupying space but somehow my physicality feels amorphous, lacking all definition and characteristics of the life its haze lived. 


             :  It’s odd though, isn’t it? That most omnipresent part of existence, that fragile shell which facilitates those interactions is largely absent. I mean, I know I can’t actually form those – albeit fractured – memories without it but somehow it means very little to the experience itself. Does the body actually matter at all? 


             : Not sure I agree with you on that one. I view that ‘fragile shell’ as vital in the shaping of how we pull together these fragmented pieces of memories, heck, I can guarantee you as a shoe have experienced a radically different world from that which I have as a fish! By the very default of your form your days are spent full of interaction, in close proximity to others, and often cherished and loved. These outwards assumptions placed on you and the differing treatment you receive as a result may very well be an outmoded but it is the unfortunate position we are in. Think back to ‘the moon is down the drain’ – you almost ran straight into that shark's mouth! I know far better than you, due to being a fish, that this is a recipe for disaster… the shark had it right when it said “classic human behaviour” indeed!

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