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Published 20 Dec 2023

Episode 18/3 A Bell is Tolling; FA X The Couch

During this festive season, we invite you to celebrate with the epic adventure mix, A Bell is Tolling, by Jan Berger. This 12 minute mix, composed of RPG* soundtracks, including selections from fantasy epics in late 90s and early 2000s, is the second work featured as part of our collaboration with the Couch**. Together we discuss what magic looks like in game worlds and the limitations of magical tropes and expectations, such as their preference for mediaeval villages, steampunk gadgetry or queer-coded villains. We question who are the typical protagonists, how do these games enforce gendered and heterosexual stereotypes, and how can magic and fantasy enforce these rigid identities in RPGs? Collectively we consider the counter-culture found in online gaming spaces, such as Roblox, as a testing ground for different identities, constructing social orders mimicking contemporary cultural production and what kinds of subversive techniques these games can show us about the virtual and meat worlds we occupy.


**The Couch is a digital editorial and arts platform to continue these debates through texts, screenings and online discourse

About Future Artefacts FM

Future Artefacts FM is an artist-run programme by Nina Davies and Niamh Schmidt that supports artists working with both sound and fiction, culminating in a programme of radio shows, workshops and live events. The Couch will play host to Future Artefacts FM for four special episodes. We feel that the topics Nina and Niamh and their guests deal with – fiction, sound as a vehicle for worldbuilding, and alternative technological futures – fit intimately with the questions we at The Couch are asking ourselves.

Read more about Future Artefacts here, or listen to Episodes 1 and 2

We are also very pleased to be able to screen an excerpt from Berger’s the video work Retrograde: An Outlook here on The Couch.



Nina Davies is a Canadian/British artist who considers the present moment through observing dance in popular culture; how it's disseminated, circulated, made, and consumed. She recently graduated from Goldsmiths MFA Fine Art where she was awarded the Almacantar Studio Award and the Goldsmiths Junior Fellowship position. Her work has recently been exhibited and shown at Transmediale, AdK, Berlin; Seventeen, London; Matt’s Gallery, Mattflix program; Circa x Dazed Class of 2022, Piccadilly Lights in London, Limes in Berlin, K-Pop Square in Seoul, Fed Square, Melbourne; Overmorrow House, Battle; and Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, Hawick. https://www.ninadavies.net/info

Niamh Schmidtke (she/they b.1997, Dublin) explores the political complications of ‘being green’ by cultivating conversations with the environment, through speculation, audio, ceramics and installations. They examine the relationship between listening and speaking, to consider the kinds of voices that deep time, the sea, or humans could have with one another. These relations critique the utopia of renewable energies, drawing attention to the financial origins of climate crises and examine intimacy as a form of decolonial praxis for the future. They are currently working on commissions for Science Gallery International in Berlin, and the Hunt Museum in Ireland. They completed their MFA at Goldsmiths, London with a First Class Honours in 2021 and hold a Fine Art Honours BA from Limerick School of Art and Design (2019). https://www.niamhschmidtke.com/


Jan Berger (1993) is a visual artist and platform designer based in Berlin. His practice is primarily occupied with ludic simulation, subject formation and the emergence of cultural mythologies in online spaces. He is the founder and attending curator of the Mythical Institution, a digital project space and art school. As StJennifer, he streams gameplay on twitch.tv. https://janberger.info/


Joe Moss makes work with a vast appetite for pre-existing cultural and material references. Connected by the logic of collage, Moss’ works weave together the contemporary logics of a variety of fictions, examining cultural threads from high-fantasy to streetwear with entertaining and slightly sinister results. Moss’ diverse output ranges from solo presentations to radio production to collaborative exhibition-making. Recent projects include Model Village at NN Contemporary, Homegrown on the Hauser & Wirth website, residencies at Eastcheap Projects UK and Stokkoyart Norway, and The London Bronze Editions Foundry Fellowship. Moss graduated with a BA from Central Saint Martins in 2015, spent three years on the Conditions Studio Programme between 2019 and 2022 and is currently enrolled on the MFA programme at the Slade. https://joemoss.co.uk/.