Daniel McKewen explores the intersections of contemporary art, screen culture, economics and politics. Working across a range of media, his work examines how these systems and structures inform our individual and collective imaginations and how ideological and aesthetic conventions shape our understanding of social experiences.
His multi-channel video work A Dark Forest depicts a giant iPhone traversing a rainforest, its screen illuminating the night and discharging an endless stream of emojis in a surreal and unsettling scene. In a digital bricolage of enigmatic authorship, the work incorporates an array of appropriated virtual resources using a free-to-use worldbuilding video game engine. The title references a book by Liu Cixin, which theorises that intelligent life in the universe has not previously revealed itself to humanity because of the danger inherent in any meeting of worlds. McKewen transposes this notion to the internet: in our always-online hyper-present world, personal and social threats are emerging from anonymous and barely understood forces that shape our interactions.