Educated as a painter, Couillard is a self-taught new media artist who has made numerous well-received and internationally exhibited video, virtual reality, and video game works, accompanied by installations, paintings, and ephemera. His works often deploy humorous narratives about future dystopias to explore what motivates us as humans to work, live, and create.
Sometimes to Deal With the Difficulty of Being Alive I Need to Believe There Is a Possibility That Life Is Not Real is an expansive work, presented in the second room of the gallery. Assembled, in Couillard’s words, to look like a “start-up company office that was set up and then abandoned after almost no use because humans went extinct.” The play- in both the theatrical and gaming sense of the word- is accessible through four computer monitors in the gallery. The computers provide access to a post-apocalyptic world populated by three AI protagonists: Smerga, Kaotoa and Skalitir, who are building a machine in an attempt to generate more living AI. The viewer is invited to watch them go about their day of work with each channel following one protagonist. The fourth channel shows a stage overview and also invites the viewer to enter the game as a Tulpa (remnant beings generated by the protagonists’ machine): to explore Polyp’s Pond (the landscape where the work is located), interact with artificial Tulpas, and play side games, which are detailed works in their own right. Additionally, anyone with a gaming PC can download a version of the software by searching for it on the digital distribution platform Steam. They can enter and engage with the gallery simulation as a Tulpa from their home. A comprehensive strategy guide book accompanies the work.
Jeremy Couillard was born in 1980 in Michigan. He received his MFA from Columbia University and his BA from Michigan State University. Couillard has exhibited at Zabludowicz Collection (London, U.K.), Phillips Auction House (co-commissioned by daata editions) (New York, NY), yours, mine & ours gallery (New York, NY), Lincoln Center (New York, NY), Louis B. James (New York, NY), Zhulong Gallery (Dallas, TX), Flux Factory (Queens, NY), and has screened his work at the New Museum and Rhizome (New York, NY), Salon 94 (New York, NY), the Brooklyn Academy of Music (Brooklyn, NY), and the Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh, PA). Couillard’s work has been featured or reviewed in Artforum, The New York Times, The New Yorker, Hyperallergic, Frieze Magazine, Art in America, VICE’s The Creators Project, The Washington Post, FAD, artnet news, ARTNews, the Huffington Post, and the Observer. Couillard’s work is in important collections including the Zabludowicz Collection.