Merissa Victor

Electric City

This animation work revolves around a large and seemingly autonomous window displaying a highly curated scene for its viewer. In this window, the higher powers of machine technology and algorithms determine, manipulate and present a highly aestheticised image to the viewer. The image presented by the window is one that is overpowering and all-consuming for the viewer, who appears minuscule in comparison. In the end, the once beautiful, glowing cityscape is gone as the window glitches and fails to work. The viewer stands alone, staring into nothingness. Through animation, parallels between the phenomena of gentrification and the act of extreme curation are drawn. The window is larger than life and functions as a metaphor for the aesthetics of gentrification. The history and culture of the systemically marginalised are non-existent in this autonomous window. Instead, it reproduces a highly curated and aestheticised version of “reality” for its viewer. The viewer in turn embodies those who are displaced due to gentrification. Silhouetted against the overpowering window and pushed off to the side, it is clear that this shiny, curated world was not created for the viewer. From the very beginning, autonomy and agency is stripped from the viewer as the powers at be seem to be in control of what is shown and how it is presented. Ultimately, the viewer is deprived of their ability to engage with the window as it glitches and the scenery disappears from view.



Merissa Victor (she/her) is a digital artist, working in the mediums of film, illustration and animation. Merissa is a 2019 Adobe Creativity Scholar and a recent graduate of the University of British Columbia’s Media Studies program. She is based in Kuala Lumpur and Vancouver.