Chris Howlett
Works in Brisbane Australia


Howlett graduated with a MFA from the Californian Institute of the Arts in 2000 and previously graduated with First Class Honours in a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Queensland University of Technology in 1996. His works have been exhibited internationally in festivals including the Inter-Society of Electronic Arts in Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm; Videoholica International Video Art Festival in Bulgaria; Los Angeles Freewaves Festival of Film, Video and New Media and exhibited work at the Art Centre College of Design in Pasadena, California. His solo and collaborative works have also been exhibited locally at the Gallery of Modern Art, Institute of Modern Art, the QUT Art Museum, the Arc Biennial for Art & Design and interstate at the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia, Hobart Art Gallery, Cairns Contemporary Art Space and Blindside Artist Run Space in Melbourne. His public art commissions include "KICK OFF" which is a curated screen-based program at the new Metricon Stadium homeground of the Gold Coast Suns and Australia's largest public art canvas the QUT billboard project. In 2010 he founded the Queensland Centre for Contemporary Art and is currently lecturing in Sculpture at the Queensland College of Art. He is currently based in Brisbane, Queensland.

Concerned with how virtual and real environments shift cultural and political understandings of our physical and psychological selves, Howlett's work often results in long term performances, computer game design, hardware modifications, sound and sculptural works, site-specific installations, painting, machinima, film and video art. His diverse, artistic universe expands preconceived notions of narrative and documentary by using autobiography, architectural simulations, pop music, fiction and fantasy to explore how technology redefines and influences our subjectivity through its pervasive use. His short machinima films include "Metropolis: Part I-III", "Michael Jackson 4 ways: Part I-IV", "Homesteads", and "Homesteads: Part I & II". Full length samples of these works can be viewed at his personal website at

In his machinima film entitled "Metropolis: Part I-III", he uses the game SimCity Societies to construct three imaginary and psychological zones which undermine the logic of the game to create a meditative space for reflection, seduction and poetic, apocalyptic reverie. Abstraction, repetition, the grid, and architecture all play their role in the actual town planning strategies of cities throughout the world in order to produce territory and the modern civilized society. Within, the narrative of the film, dystopian and sublime, gated estates merge and dissolve into one another and are subjected to natural disasters, conjuring up disturbing comparisons between our real, lived experience and the day-to-day spectacle of mediated trauma. The recent Chilean and Haitian earthquake, South-Pacific islands devastated by tsunamis, apocalyptic meteorites and the dire predictions associated with climate change, overshadow the construction of these three different, yet strangely familiar virtual sites that all strive to undermine both the logic of the game and our own safe, hygienically controlled lifestyles.

In another machinima film entitled "Michael Jackson 4 ways: Part I-IV", Howlett questions the slippery position the viewer inhabits to make informed, truth based decisions with the personal information they encounter online. This experience is further complicated, when these personal and moral online statements take their final form in the depoliticized realm of entertainment and video games. Where does one locate one's moral and ethical decisions based on Jackson's aesthetics?

He is currently based in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

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