Re:Loc: December 2004, Manchester/ UK


Re:Loc is a project, which attempts to put things out of place,
a computer game which shuffles the cultural objects of our region like cards.

Re:Loc is a collaboration between artists, curators and mediators in the NorethWest of England.

Mathias Fuchs
LevelDesign, Art, Models, Sound, Programming
Fee Plumley
Project Management
Giuseppe Lucido
3D modelling
Vera Schlusmans

George Stubbs: Cheetah and Stag with Two Indians

supported by

the the Arts Council of England


Re:Loc is a project, which attempts to put things out of place, a computer game which shuffles the cultural objects of our region like cards.
Re:Loc is a collaboration between artists, curators and mediators.

It is a multi-user computer game for cultural deconstruction and a tool for the creation of “synthesized heritage”.

As we did in our recent project “Expositur” (2001, collaboration with 9 Viennese Museums) we intend to start from a pool of knowledge and a pool of objects which we hope to get access to through Northwest museums and collections (see a preliminary list of possible partners below). These objects need not be significant at first sight, they could be anything from a masterpiece to an old hat.

The computer game, which we will build, can be played individually to explore the meaning of cultural and everyday objects.

It can however also be played as a multi-user game, with computer terminals set up in different locations (e.g. museums, airports, public space, even partner institutes abroad).

For the individual museums and the donators of knowledge this project serves as a window to the world outside their institution, for the museums as a whole it will be an interesting new tool for the deconstruction of knowledge.

George Stubbs (1724-1806): Cheetah and Stag with Two Indians (1764/ 1765)
Manchester City Art Gallery

Relocation 1: Indian in the Victorian Baths, Manchester (opened on 28 July 1859, photo taken in 2003)

Geographical relocation, historical relocation, cultural relocation, media relocation: from painting to digital photography

Relocation 2: Indian at Fallowfields Fruit Market, Manchester (photo taken in 2003)

Geographical relocation, professional relocation, media relocation

Example: Let’s assume that a curator of Manchester City Art Gallery would in cooperation with the artists identify “Cheetah and Stag with Two Indians” (1764/ 65) by George Stubbs as an essential object of the collection. We would then investigate the history of this painting, look at the painter’s life, look at other work influenced by this painting, build or extract objects from the painting and make them fit for a 3D environment. Eventually we would provide them with certain behaviour and with properties. The objective of the gamer would be to relocate these objects and to assemble them in unconventional contexts, experiencing visual joy or surprise, retrieving information from the relocation process and creating unseen ensembles. The 2D sketches underneath demonstrate geographical relocation, historical relocation, cultural relocation, media relocation.

Theoretical Background: Relocation is a strategy of artists, scientists, architects and city planners to arrive at new forms of knowledge and expression. (One could probably add chefs, philosophers, musicians, surgeons and many other professions to the list.) We believe that the process of taking objects out of their hosting context into another is a key activity of creative processes. Bangra Music, Fashion Scouting, Cross Dressing, "Second-hand Style"[ Angela McRobbie: Postmodernism and Popular Culture. Routledge London, New York 1994] or "Living with Difference" [Kobena Mercer: Welcome to the Jungle. In: J. Rutherford: Identitiy. Lawrence & Wishard London 1990] all point in the same direction: Relocation.

The main objective of our approach is a non-canonical reconstruction of a cultural “bubble”, which is non-philosophical in Richard Rorty’s terms, a relocative praxis, with a view on pretty much anything in the hope of making it hang together.

“A fortiori, such a culture would contain nobody called "the Philosopher" who could explain why and how certain areas of culture enjoyed a special relation to reality. Such a culture would, doubtless, contain specialists in seeing how things hung together. But these would be people who had no special "problems" to solve, nor any special "method" to apply, abided by no particular disciplinary standards, had no collective self-image as a "profession." (…) They would be all-purpose intellectuals who were ready to offer a view on pretty much anything, in the hope of making it hang together with everything else.

[Richard Rorty: Consequences of Pragmatism, publ. University of Minnesota Press, 1982]

The all purpose intellectuals we have in mind, are the players of the game.

Sha'at'nez is a biblical term (Levitikus 19,19). It describes relationships of objects lacking organic consistence. (Think of a piece of cloth, e.g., which consists of wool and cotton as a Sha'at'nez. Orthodox Jewish law is restrictive towards hybrids of such kind). The components of Sha'at'nez are relocated, they are pulled from their natural semantic field and their material environment and combined in a way which was not originally thought out for them. (C.f. Clegg & Guttmann's exhibition with the same name. Vienna, 2004)

Artistic Background: We have been working in para-realistic environments for many years. As with the work for the Millennium Dome in London, or the computer game art pieces “fluID” and “Hotel Synthifornia” we intend to create a joyful digital environment filled with images, sounds and texts which are interactively relocatable/ deconstructable by the users.

We are aware of the fact that the process of relocating objects creates virtual worlds which can be considered to be unreal in many ways.

“[...] reality is neither the subject nor the object of true art which creates its own special reality having nothing to do with the average "reality" perceived by the communal eye”.

[Vladimir Nabokov: Pale Fire 1962]

Concepts of synchronicity and chronology will have to be reconsidered.

“No chronology will be observed here, nor is one necessary. Hence each reader will put together the book for himself, as in a game of dominoes or cards, and, as with a mirror, he will get out of this dictionary as much as he puts into it, for you [...] cannot get more out of the truth than what you put into it”.

[Milorad Pavic: Dictionary of the Khazars. First published in English in 1988]

The Urbis, Manchester 2002

Relocation 1: Urbis at Llandudno beach, Wales (photo taken in 2003)

Geographical relocation, architectonic relocation: from city glass-palace to pseudo-ship, functional relocation: from metropolitan museum to touristic leisure object, iconic relocation: from building to submarine

Relocation 2: Urbis in the U.S.A. Geographical relocation, physical relocation: change in size

Preliminary list of knowledge sources/ project partners


Victoria Baths

Museum of Science and Industry

Pumphouse, The peoples’ history museum

The Cornerhouse

The Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

The Pankhurst Centre

Cartwright Hall Art Gallery


Pat Sterry and Deborah Leighton, Salford University Heritage Studies

The Arts Council

Gameplay: This is an Urban Multi-User Exploratory Game. You move inside a Virtual City, but the cityscape and the objects you encounter are not hard and invariable BSP geometry, they are “movers”. You can – as a player – move the Urbis from Deansgate to Central Park. You can pick a building and relocate it from Sao Paulo to Shibuja, from Times Square to Exchange Square, from Potzdamer Platz to the Moss Side.

Gameplay features:

- Become an Urban planer: Move buildings
- Destroy Buildings (if they are not in sync with your plans. But be aware: Other players might respawn them)
Spawm Buildings
- Relocate Buildings
- Revamp Buildings
- Redecorate Buildings

On a level of individual objects:

- Redress people
- Resize People
- Reempower People