Epic Doom


Epic Doom is a developing, interactive sound-video installation utilizing a death metal aesthetic to process live-feed sound and image. Versions have been installed at the Play With Fire Video Art Festival (2009, group exhibition and panel discussion) and Brewer’s Mansion (2010, solo exhibition).


Diffusion of responsibility is a social phenomenon that occurs in groups larger than a critical size. Unless accountability is explicitly assigned, each member’s sense of personal responsibility for group welfare sharply declines as the group reaches a size of approximately 150 members. This phenomenon is a common reaction to our society’s many environmental crises, resulting in anxiety or apathy. However, because social structures are complex systems, societal ills are necessarily emergences: They arise out of the small (seemingly negligible) actions and interactions of individuals.

Epic Doom is both a comment on and an illustration of societal ills as emergent phenomena. It is a generative sound- and video-installation that processes the physical actions of visitors and passersby (using an emergent generative algorithm) and re-presents those actions in real time. Through this process, it provides an illustration of human agency and implicates the individual as a harbinger of evil ..even as “no one raindrop thinks it caused the flood”.

Epic Doom utilizes the familiar and extreme black-metal aesthetic to allude to modern society’s shared sense of panic. Live-captured video and audio is processed, slowed down, and layered to create an overly-dramatized, lurching sense of danger. Because the processing algorithm is analogous to the complex processes that generate (for example) climate change from individual habits, viewer-interaction with the system offers only delayed gratification. As a result, it is not immediately apparent that the projected-video and amplified sound are both products of the viewer’s own actions. As the viewer learns the source of the video content, they will be faced with the truth that the epic doom they see before them is, in fact, a reflection of themselves.