Alison Mealey is a former researcher from FACT in Liverpool. She lives and works in Huddersfield (UK).
Alison Mealey (UK) Series Unreal Art, 2005 (courtesy of Fabio Paris Art Gallery)
Unreal art, a project begun by Mealey in 2005, is about convincing some twenty-odd ‘divine bots’, from one of the levels of the popular shoot-’em-up game unreal tournament, at the routes she gives them on the map are the best of all. Sometimes she succeeds, sometimes she doesn’t. The route she gives them traces out the essential features of a human face, which then becomes the field of action in which the bots race around for the level. Using software written in Processing, an open source visual design language used by many artists, Mealey matches the actions of the bots to shapes and colours that pick up on the colour palette of the underlying image. the image can be screened in real time whilst it is created, or frozen at any given stage of its evolution and printed on paper or canvas. The result highlights all the complexity and ambiguity of the project. Seen close up, the image appears to be a sophisticated abstract composition, with every last detail worthy of admiration. Stand back, and a portrait takes shape.