Alfie Dwyer on creating game-like worlds and moulding tangible films like “putty”

15 November 2019

Alfie Dwyer, also known as Zezima, is a Bristol-based digital, video and performance artist, who recreates his own dreams in stunning HD quality. Just kidding. Using a comical DIY aesthetic, Alfie chooses to ignore the slick rick videos that swamp our feeds, preferring instead the lo-fi quality of ‘90s video games and what he calls “images behaving badly”.

The way in which Alfie reclaims and celebrates the bugging-out nature of early graphics links back to his introduction to the medium: “I started off as a kid, making comedy videos on YouTube with my neighbour that no one watched. About five people watch my videos nowadays so I guess you could say I’ve grown," he says, optimistically.

Arriving at creating art films while studying at Kingston, Alfie’s exploration coincided with his obsession with lucid dreaming, particularly after every other medium had failed him. “I don’t think it’s possible to ever accurately recreate the feeling of a dream, they come with their own intangible flavour and hidden objectives, but film always gave me the best bet,” he says. By making images move, Alfie realised he could build entire worlds and control viewpoints, atmosphere and mood – something that’s evident in Time2Go. “Film to me is like painting and sculpture but adding the dimension of time. Four dimensional putty, to craft in whatever way you please,” he says.

Alfie uses CG in Time2Go and the majority of his other works, after becoming obsessed with the medium: “most nights I sit and draw or build digital 3D artworks, so my ideas are flowing pretty frequently. I’m a believer that the more work you do, the more ideas you get, so even if you’re working on something terrible it can often lead to gems,” he says.


Alfie Dwyer Time2Go

In a collaboration with electronic instrumental artist and younger brother Dwyer, Alfie created the video after being inspired by the title, saying: “It could be ‘time to go’ anywhere. Obviously it’s open ended, but I saw it as a last message before the end of life.” Hence the grim reaper.

After listening to the liquidity of the song, Alfie created a death cruise through the trees, where bodies wobble and the lens warps and glides through the trees. Aesthetically, the lo-fi choices aren’t only due to a nostalgic yearning for graphics of the past, but “the grainy, low quality moving image is gold dust for the mind. It opens up the potential for ambiguity,” he says.

This simple aesthetic is something that Alfie explores deliberately in other digital works, such as his project Teaching Zuckerberg What It Means To Be Human. He created a 3D mesh of “a sweaty caricature of Zuckerberg”, to make a political statement about data harvesting on social media. After making it through Facebook’s detection systems by naming the filter “generic male head”, Alfie turned its usage into a film, which is now touring the world with the Wrong Biennale.

Currently, Alfie is working on a new music video, this time for Bristol-based punk trio named Grandma’s House, as well as continuing his CGI experiments late into the night.

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About the Author

Peach Doble

Peach joined us as a writer in the autumn of 2019 and wrote plenty of articles across art, illustration, film and everything in between.

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