“Listening to war stories, building models, playing G.I. Joe, competing in digital combat; New Frontier is a video installation that recounts many of my male-centric childhood experiences at the tail end of the Cold War era. War and violence had an undeniable influence, but as a child their politics and brutality were not apparent, they had an almost mythical quality to them. From them I learnt about heroism and kinship. Their unifying nature helped form a sense of honor and belonging, and to diminish generation gaps within my family. In New Frontier, I attempt to capture the unifying nature of the time, something I feel is absent today with the diminishing influence of World War II, and our cultural push towards realism”.
The installation consists of two video projections of stop-motion animations. Using dirt and toy soldiers, Hambleton formed an emblematic battlefield between the action and fantasy genres that impacted his social behaviors as a child. One pushing him to be more aggressive and violent, allowing him to bond easily with his peers and to break out of his shell, and the other pushing him to be more imaginative and creative, resulting in his enjoyment with spending more time by himself. Within the projection’s space, twenty wooden World War II airplanes hang. Paired with the movement of the animations, the planes travel through the space on a flight of reminiscence.
The final piece in the show The Last Haunt is a scale reproduction of an arcade machine. The machine sits alone, covered in moss, acting as a memorial to the Videogame Arcade, a place that once littered our malls and public spaces. At the arcade, Hambleton would gather with other kids and compete for their respect. Through its rules and customs, he learnt strategy and honor. The machine plays Street Fighter II, the classic arcade game that started the competitive fighting-game genre.