The 20th century radically altered the environment of cities, whether it was the sprawls of asphalt parking lots, or the human-enabled spread of the ornamental palm tree. In “Islands: Non-Places,” artist and animator Carl Burton examines the liminal quality of these repetitious spaces in an interactive series of vignettes. Each considers the surreal qualities of a lonely bus stop, or endlessly spinning luggage carousel, and invites the user to click on illuminated triggers to reveal some unexpected action.
“I think these mundane spaces have a strangely neutral, uncanny quality,” Burton told Hyperallergic. “They’re the kinds of areas you just pass through on your way to another place.” While he often creates GIFs drenched with a similar monotone, foggy atmosphere (which you can explore on his Tumblr, or find enlivening New York Times articles), this is his first gaming work. He cited as inspiration Marc Augé’s 2009 Non-Places: An Introduction to Supermodernity, and the idea of a “non-place,” on which Augé writes: “The face and voice of a solitude made all the more baffling by the fact that it echoes millions of others.”