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SOUTHCOTTIAN (2019) is video footage of gameplay inspired by Devon-born Joanna Southcott

SOUTHCOTTIAN (2019) is video footage of gameplay recorded inside artist John Walter’s virtual reality game of the same name, inspired by Devon-born Joanna Southcott (1750-1814). Known as the Exeter Prophetess, Southcott came to prominence after she published texts of her visions and prophecies, gathering more than 14,000 cult followers.

Walter’s game is an immersive form of storytelling about Southcott’s phantom pregnancy at the age of 64, which she believed to be the new messiah. Combining digital animation, 3D scanning, religious memes and an explosion of visual mash-ups, Walter collages together a surreal Where’s Wally? quest to find Joanna Southcott, presenting her phantom pregnancy as an allegory of Brexit.

This commission draws on RAMM’s extensive collection of material about Southcott, which includes her autographs and wax seals, books written about her visions, gifts she received from followers, and a patchwork quilt made by her in 1810. SOUTHCOTTIAN will be installed in RAMM’s Making History gallery, where visitors will be able to see certain objects that have inspired the game on display.

The SOUTHCOTTIAN game is available to download online and play for free through VR headsets.

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