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HomeBrew: Brassknocker, 1979


Artist: Ben Hall

Title: Brassknocker, 1979

Format: Video Game

Brassknocker is a game based on cryptozoological sightings of an unidentified creature in Somerset in the 1970s and 80s, now known as the Beast of Brassknocker Hill.

For a few years, locals in the Monkton Combe area reported seeing a bear-like creature with fangs and white rings around its eyes. Some responded with shotgun vigils, some blamed a nearby alpaca owner.

Brassknocker will explore this moment and the Beast as a mechanism by which to yearn for the past, for a time of mystery, adventure and magyk, and demonstrate the power of cryptids as the objects of community building. Creatures desired and feared, lost and found, out of time and place, made hyperreal by community storytelling.

The game will be accessible to anyone; both a tool for learning about the beast and for understanding the emotions and communities that form around the pseudoscience of cryptozoology, and how those connect to the Somerset of the 70s and today in relation to its unseen histories.

Music by: Lloyd Howell (aka Goldefish) - 



Born and raised in Litton, Somerset, I am a Glasgow-based artist, filmmaker, animator, creative computer and writer. I studied fine art at the Glasgow School of Art until our degree show, graduation and the remainder of our classes were cancelled because to the current COVID-19 outbreak. So I am currently founding a post-academic practice, a few months earlier than expected.

When our degree show was cancelled I led a project to recreate it as an accessible simulator game, which was circulated for free in May and featured on BBC One and BBC Radio Scotland.

I recently sat on a committee for Glasgow Film Festival 2020, on which I pre-screened films, introduced screenings, programmed events, and more. I have shown work internationally; in Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, Kyoto, Valencia (with The Wrong Biennale) and more, as well as being included in publications in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Montpellier.

In a time when what used to be called 'media' is now called 'content,' things feel confusing and a touch catastrophic. I work with the tools of commercial content creation - CGI, animation, film and writing - trying to let them entropically shatter at the right moment and wear their contrivance on their sleeve. We might not be in cages, but we are on directed highways - chaos and predictability are crashing together. To this end, I collide CGI and live-action footage, mass events with miniature sets, and exercises in worldly understanding with unknowable computational tools. Images appear on different surfaces, some old some new, some fully functional, some broken, some prerendered some live and semi-interactive.

Ben Hall Edit
Build 3.2 17/02/2021