10:05 - 6th September 2012, by David West

David Blandy's Odysseys Exhibition at Brighton Digital Festival

The Brighton Digital Festival 2012 plays host throughout September to a special exhibition by artist David Blandy called Odysseys.

Blandy has transformed Brighton Phoenix gallery into a riotous gaming arcade, with film projections, computer games, life-sized cut-out figures, comics, posters, lego models, drawings by leading Manga artist Inko and an 11-hour deadly gaming tournament in which the audience is invited to participate.

Odysseys brings together for the first time Blandy's custom-decorated arcade cabs, adapted to play games of his own devising, and his video installations including Anjin 1600 from 2012 and Child of the Atom from 2010.

The works draw on the visual language of anime to tell deeply personal stories that question the ethics of cultural tourism, but that also question whether we find ourselves through the games that we play and how the films we watch form part of our collective memory.

Anjin 1600 is the first part of a new, episodic animation which references the 1980s Franco-Japanese TV cartoon Ulysses 31.

Inspired by Homer's Odyssey and the extraordinary journey of William Adams - the first Englishman to reach Japan in 1600 and the only westerner to become a Samurai - Blandy re-imagines Adams' adventures as a futuristic space odyssey in a steampunk galleon-style starship.

Child of the Atom is a meditation on the tragic effects of the Hiroshima atom bomb of 1945.

If the bomb had not been dropped Blandy's grandfather would not have survived as a Japanese Prisoner of War.

Narrated by the fictional future voice of his young daughter, the film intersperses documentary footage of her and Blandy's guilt-ridden pilgrimage to the city with apocalyptic anime flashbacks of the bomb's devastation.

Blandy's game Duels and Dualities: Battle of the Soul is based on Street Fighter II, using a series of the artist's alter-egos, each with their own special powers in a customised 2D fighting arena.

The gaming reaches its climax on 22 September when The Fight Lab transforms the gallery into a gaming tournament space, with the public invited to duel it out day and night.

The exhibition runs until 23 September 2012 at Phoenix Brighton, 10-14 Waterloo Place, Brighton BN2 9NB

Special events:

17 September: Princess Mononoke screening introduced by David Blandy - 6.30pm at Duke Of York's Picturehouse

19 September: Illustration and comic workshop with David Blandy and manga artist Inko: 6.30pm at Phoenix Brighton

22 September: The Fight Lab game tournament: 12pm - 11pm at Phoenix Brighton

For more info check out David Blandy's website and the Brighton Digital Festival website.

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