Eddo Stern's monumental project Darkgame is now complete.
Darkgame is a sensory deprivation computer game that the Israeli-born artist began developing in 2008. The player wears custom made head gear, which triggers sensations, feelings and emotions. The third iteration was completed in 2013. I tried it at Young Projects in Los Angeles and it felt like a game adaptation of Jonathan Glazer's Under The Skin (2013): the uncanny, eerie, black humanoid silhouette running across dark environments reminded me of the alien entity of Michael Faber's novel. Floating corporeal parts and human limbs seem to allude to Gilles Deleuze's notion of body without organs* and Zizek's rebuttal, "organs without bodies". And then there's a a disembodied female voice whispering words in your ear, a Siri ante-litteram. Darkgame is a meta-referential meditation on gaming itself as it forces the player to confront the very idiotic tropes, mechanics, and conventions plaguing most games, e.g., the need, actually, urge, to expand and enhance the avatar. A ludic experience that makes subtraction a (non) plus (ultra), Darkgame is an exercise in existentialism. It simply blew me away. And that's a problem: it's really hard to get excited about videogames once you've experienced Eddo Stern's performative play. Unclassifiable, avant-garde, truly immersive, Darkgame is the pinnacle of art gaming. A masterpiece of interface design, it is the most Croneberghian non-game I've ever played.
* Originally conceived by Antonin Artaud, the concept of "body without organs" refers to an assemblage or body with no underlying organizational principles, and hence no organs within it.
LINK: Eddo Stern
Submitted by Matteo Bittanti (all images and videos courtesy of the Artist)