Heterotopias, which combines live action with digital animation, is one of a trilogy of videos in which Desirée Holman imagines and interrogates the human tendency to engage in fictional narratives. Holman constructs a Möbius-like relation between real and virtual, self and avatar, action and play, fantasy and fiction.
Heterotopias begins with a screen, frames within a frame so to speak, as the video projection frames an image of several individuals typing away on their laptops. Their specific activities are left unseen, the screens serving as frames for everyday realities, empty ciphers for the ubiquity of our experience with them—the mundanity of work, communication, news, and information. Holman is interested in how this constant technological presence forms and mediates our sense of self and our social relations, but also how it serves as a portal to other more fantastical forms of attachment and desire in virtual space. There is total fluidity in the construction of fantasy-based cultures in virtual reality, gaming, and popular media, and Holman’s interest in fantasy and play is as complex and fluid, moving among physical, mental, and virtual realms of make-believe.