MUSH


MUSH was first commissioned as a 360-degree immersive projection for MIRA Digital Arts Festival, with a single-channel edit premiered soon after by Fact magazine. See here for dank write-up by Henry Bruce-Jones.

The term MUSH (Multi-User Shared Hallucination) is a term derived from the field of online text-based role-playing games. It refers to the communal investment in and social codification of a shared gamespace: the rules, tacit protocols, ethos, and other invented elements which allow it to be an effectively immersive space distinct from an 'outside' world.

MUSH by Most Dismal Swamp explores the emerging long-tail of community-building, or 'gangcrafting'. It is interested in the arcane, encrypted cultures flourishing among the recesses of an online megalopolis and reinforced by offline organisation and social balkanization. Maintaining fragile communities in platform-mediated circumstances means navigating: fluidly draconian Ts&Cs, gamified feedcrafting algorithms, algorithmic populism, misinformation, reality entrepreneurs, meme inception, and punitive control such as shadow-banning. While offline, the closure of many struggling urban venues as apparatuses of diverse community-building and public discourse, as well as the emergence of phenomena such as 'astroturfing', means that many communities seek and embrace alternative, private, or 'off-grid' spaces. From trust-based cryptoraves to sub rosa chat servers.

MUSH focuses on the encrypted internal exchanges of such a group: a k-hole katabasis into the consensual disassociation of opaque gestures, rituals, theories and artefacts that form an underground enclave. MUSH is the surveillance of a gancrafted night science; an airplane-mode mysticism; a ‘conlang’ of survival and of improvised future-building, forming among reclaimed empty venues and digital dark forests.


Curated + Directed by Dane Sutherland
Edit and FX by Dane Sutherland
Additional VFX by Stephen McLaughlin
Semelparous installation by Joey Holder
Unreal Engine 5 world and Exudater installation by Samuel Capps
MUSH collages by Lou Shafer
Blender animations by Aquabubz
Blender wall decal by Tissue Hunter
Additional 2D graphics and animated typography by Post Cyberparamo
3D animated figures by Olia Svetlanova
Silicone garments by vvxxii and Johanna Invrea
DOOBIE WEB 2009 Sweatshirts by Iain Ball
Jewellery by Timothy Gasbarro
Sculptures by Hannah Rose Stewart, Agnieszka Szostek, Yiming Yang, Sian Fan, Laura Costas
Spirit's Gravity drawings by Matt Cangiano
Choreography by Most Dismal Swamp and Laila Majid
Performers: V Shetsova, Luke Magill, Furi, Lora Angelova, Susanna Husebø
Camera by Julia Brown
Words by Dane Sutherland
Music by FRKTL