Mono no aware

Mono no aware is an endless generative free-roaming game created in collaboration with artist Jonas Pequeno. The project explores synthetic recreations of the Romantic sublime through absurdist social interpretations of the term ‘nature’. The project attempts to subvert the goal-oriented militaristic ideologies historically tied with the video-game medium by exploring games without an end goal, win or loss state.

During a residency with Offsite Projects and Agorama, Jonas researched the relationship between folksonomy and machine learning data by researching the term ‘nature’ within linguistic classification systems by investigating large content repositories like, and that require collaborative indexing. This research period has informed the conceptual framework for this project.

In the Unity game-engine, the environment is continually destroyed and regenerated procedurally as the player explores their surroundings. The landscape may spawn anomalous objects, which represent absurd terms tagged in relation to ‘nature’ identified during Jonas’ research. This automates unique player-experiences of nature that are mediated by language.

All objects that exist within this landscape will be built from machine text-to-image processing algorithms. This reveals how our linguistic classification systems are visually materialised by machines; where the slippages of language could represent a more fundamental, multifaceted conception of ‘nature’.


​Alexander MacKinnon is a British-Chinese artist based in London. Alexander’s practice predominantly focuses on creating simulated 3D spaces, video games, VR and CG videos. Within these virtual realms Alexander’s work presents warped perspectives of human experience – often drawing on ideas of Posthumanist virtuality and the Uncanny to explore the dissolution of reality in postmodern culture, and narratives that reflect dystopic parallels to the real world.

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