By: Toban Nichols


Uploaded on August 11, 2008 by Toban Nichols Powered by YouTube

Battlestations!, a 2008 work of digital video by Toban Nichols, is a collision of modern fairy tale and found digital debris. With colorful, abstract visuals and voice over, this short movie points to the idea that there are salient, picaresque narratives, and anthropomorphic characters that can be excavated from the video ether. Extending a throwaway snippet of found footage—degraded digital noise on an old VHS tape— Nichols reveals visually provocative material in the form of vibrantly hued pixels that invade an expanse of blue. This monochromatic expanse, the dulcet toned, British accented female narrator informs us, is a fictional landscape populated by calm folk. They're bedazzled by the arrival of brightly colored pixels, who for all intents and purposes, act like aggressive developers. They insert saloons, espresso bars, parking garages and flavored gelatin outlets into the minimalist expanse. War erupts, and storybook land is infused with whiff of cartoon computer game violence. Battlestations! is informed, in equal measures, by fairy tale theater, classic computer games and color field painting. It's ultimately a media critique in which pixels come alive and reality, in the guise of barely visible footage of urban settings, struggles for recognition. Nothing is quite what it seems. -Glen Helfand
Art & Animation