Participatory Worlds was launched in 2020 thanks to an effort by Bournemouth University in the UK and supported by Arts Council England. The project is led by José Blázquez.
"This project investigates three creative practices (‘machinima’, in-game photography and gamics) performed by audience members, normally end-users, which make use of videogame assets to convey stories and produce works of art. ‘Press Start’ aims to raise public awareness of the possibilities of these practices for creative expression and educational purposes by engaging with the general public, artists, scholars and teaching professionals. The project will produce four publications, an art exhibition displaying works from United Kingdom and international artists, practice-based workshops, and a seminar. "
Check their website for resources and activities, featuring artworks by Joshua Lee, JBS Gaming; Logic Films; Beatriz Vigario; CrazyFox; Frans Bouma; Akumath; Megan Miller; Irregular Saturn among others.
LINK: Participatory Worlds
Point of View
February 18–April 25, 2021
STUK — House for Dance, Image & Sound
Naamsestraat 96, 3000 Leuven, Belgium
Curator: Karen Verschooren, STUK
STUK is delighted to present the first European survey exhibition of American artist and interventionist Angela Washko (b. 1986).
Angela Washko is devoted to creating new forums for discussions of feminism where they do not exist. She actively seeks out new ways to facilitate or enter into conversation with individuals and communities who have radically different ideas and opinions in an attempt to create spaces for discussion, productive dissent and complexity. Throughout her practice, she investigates how power structures are embedded into our collective consciousness through media. A life-long gamer, her work takes the form of performance (in both virtual and physical spaces), actions, interventions, video games, videos, prints and books.
In her solo exhibition in STUK, Point of View, Washko is presenting four bodies of work: The Council on Gender Sensitivity and Behavioral Awareness in World of Warcraft (2012-2016), Heroines with Baggage (2011-2014), BANGED (2015-2017) and The Game: The Game (2016-2019).
In 2012, Washko founded The Council on Gender Sensitivity and Behavioral Awareness in World of Warcraft with a goal to facilitate discussions with other players about the misogynistic, homophobic, racist and discriminatory language used within the game space. Instead of just continuing to "go on quests and kill stuff," she created a series of video-documented performances—two of which are included in the show—in which she initiated and facilitated conversations about gender and discrimination within World of Warcraft.
For her video series "Heroines with Baggage," Washko started to replay the 1990s role-playing video games which were formative to her as a child. Upon replaying these games, it became clear to the artist that the women represented were frequently portrayed as collapsing, running scared, afraid of being alone, and always in need of rescue by a male protagonist. By constructing videos featuring only scenes focused on female characters from these games, Washko makes the presence of these stereotypes and oversimplified gender binaries visible and woefully obvious.
"BANGED" is a series of works Washko created around the figure of Roosh V, "the Web’s most infamous misogynist" and a professional pick-up artist. A leader of the manosphere (an online anti-feminist network mobilized around the notion that men are more oppressed than women), Roosh V has written numerous books on how to have sex with women across cultural barriers as quickly as possible. His tales of sexual conquests were widespread, however never giving voice to the women involved. During the process of soliciting stories from these women to create a parallel compilation to his stories and texts, Washko ended up doing a video interview with the manosphere figurehead himself. The interview video along with performances and books about her experience with the manosphere community afterward make up the "BANGED" project.
Resulting from continued research into the pick-up artist (PUA) community is the last body of work presented in the exhibition: The Game: The Game. Composed entirely of scenarios, techniques, and language from texts and instructional videos created by pick-up artists, The Game: The Game is a feminist dating simulator video game designed to give players the experience of interacting with a series of infamous pick-up artists and seduction coaches. It is accompanied by a haunting musical score composed by Xiu Xiu.
The exhibition Point of View is part of a series of solo exhibitions in STUK by contemporary visual artists who have a particular affinity for the moving image and spatial video installations. Previous exhibitions in this series include Mircea Cantor - Am I really free?; Sebastián Díaz Morales - TALK WITH DUST; Mika Taanila - THE END; Nevin Aladağ - ROLLIN’; Omer Fast - Appendix; Joachim Koester - Maybe this act, this work, this thing; Emre Hüner - Neochronophobiq; John Akomfrah - Auto Da Fé; and Bjørn Melhus - The Theory of Freedom.
(b. 1986, Reading, USA)
Angela Washko is an artist who creates new forums for discussions about feminism in spaces frequently hostile toward it. Her practice spans interventions in mainstream media, performance art, digital works, video and video games. She recently finished a documentary film about RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Mrs. Kasha Davis titled Workhorse Queen.
Currently Associate Professor of Art at Carnegie Mellon University, Washko is the recipient of a.o. the Creative Capital Award and the Impact Award at Indiecade. Her practice has been highlighted in The New Yorker, Frieze Magazine, Time Magazine and more, and her projects have been presented internationally at venues including Museum of the Moving Image (New York), Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, Milan Design Triennale, Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art (Helsinki), and Shenzhen Independent Animation Biennial.
On February 18, Angela Washko will host an online artist talk on the opening night. In the lecture, Angela will walk the audience through her research and practice, focusing on the works in Point of View. The talk will close with a participatory play-through of Washko’s feminist video game about pick-up artists, The Game: The Game, facilitated by the artist. Please register via this link.
LINK: Angela Washko
digital video (1920 x 1080), sound, color, 3’ 33”, 2020 (United States/Italy)
Created by COLL.EO
February 12 - February 25 2021
Introduced by Random Parts
Volatile. Fiery. Flaming. Heated. In flames. Sizzling. Gleaming. Alight. Ignited. Automobile. Car. Wagon. Truck. Van. Law Enforcement. Siren. Horn. Warning. Brawl. Storm. Disturbance. Turbulence. Turmoil. Uproar. Commotion. Emergency. Scene. Shots. Scream. Screech. Howl. Wail.
COLL.EO is a collaboration between Colleen Flaherty and Matteo Bittanti established in 2012 which operates in San Francisco and Milan. COLL.EO creates boldly unoriginal media artworks, uncreative mobile sculptures, and uniquely derivative conceptual pieces. With the use of appropriated materials borrowed from a day-to-day context, COLL.EO has developed a filthy rich visual vocabulary addressing artistic, social, and political issues. COLL.EO generates situations in which everyday objects - often toys and games - are altered or detached from their original contexts. Sometimes they appear idiosyncratic and quirky, at other times sinister and morbid, like most by-products of American superabundance and pervasive marketing.
Essential piece on art, video games and photography by Gideon Jacobs on the February 2021 issue of ARTFORUM. A key passage:
But it’s possible that a better approach to the issue removes technology from the equation entirely. Instead of Hershel, we might refer to the pragmatic definition offered by legendary MoMA curator John Szarkowski: “One might compare the art of photography to the act of pointing.” In-game photography is certainly pointing, it’s just pointing that occurs in places that we don’t yet deem as weighty and consequential as our tangible reality.
True Fake: Troubling the Real in Artists’ Films
A new online series on e-flux Video & Film, programmed by Lukas Brasiskis
The series will include a live discussion with some of the participating artists and other guests (date to be announced).
Online, various dates
Part One | Simulations and (Hyper)Reality
Tuesday, February 9—Monday, February 22, 2021
Harun Farocki’s Parallel II andParallel III (2014), Peggy Ahwesh’s TheFalling Sky (2017), David Blandy’s and Larry Achiampong’s Finding Fanon 2 (2015), and Sondra Perry’s It’s in the Game '17 (2017) explore various kinds of digital simulations and their functioning. From mundane environments to planetary views, from military cartographies to non-human worlds, computer scientists and video game developers are building hyper-realities, where view(s)ers acquire virtual bodies and act in virtual spaces. Experientially, these hyper-realities are characteristic of a means to navigate through complex and multi-scalar situations. Yet, what does the simulation of reality mimic and for whom does it function? What does hyper-reality tell us about the real and how does it represent intrinsic mechanisms of control and colonialism? From ontological questions about the nature of (hyper)reality to the critical appropriation of forms of digital worlds, the works in this chapter of the series re-embody and critically examine the simulated environment.
Digital video, color, sound, 5’ 58” (United States of America)
Written, Filmed, Narrated, and Scored by Carson Lynn
Made for the ArtCenter College of Design Graduate Fellowship - Fall 2020
ArtCenter College of Design
950 S. Raymond Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91105
Dear Eidolon is a machinima created for the ArtCenter College of Design Graduate Fellowship: Fall 2020 in Pasadena, California. The full video is visible on the ArtCenter Graduate Art website as a virtual exhibition (February 1 - February 28 2021). Dear Eidolon is presented as a conversation between Carson Lynn As Lynn writes, “By blurring the lines between gamespaces, I sought to explore my complex relationship to these virtual environments that serve as sites for both trauma and discovery.”
Carson Lynn is an artist based out of Southern California who through the usage of digital materials, sublime landscapes, and exploration within gamespaces, creates artworks as a queering of heterocentric photographic conventions and game systems. He is working towards receiving his MFA from ArtCenter College of Design with a projected graduation in April, 2020. In 2015, he received a BFA in Photography and Imaging, also from ArtCenter.
LINK: Carson Lynn
Hugo Montembeault has just started a new postdoctoral game design research-creation project at the Technoculture, Art, and Games (TAG) laboratory of Concordia University, Canada, funded by the Fonds de Recherche du Québec - Société et Culture (FRQSC). Montembeault's project is entitled Bug Hunter. Mapping Glitches Trajectories in Game Design Space: From the Poetical to the Political (2020-2022). His goal is to study the aesthetic and rhetorical potential of video game glitches. Montembeault has recently launched a dedicated website to document, share, and discuss his research-creation activities. There, you’ll find his art manifesto, the game design document, a design journal in the form of a blog, and an archive of glitches captured in the wild, which is accompanied by several social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, and GitHub. Here's an excerpt from the manifesto:
Bug Hunter qualifies itself as a media-archaeological videoludic experimentation devoted to gaming glitches. The object of study is understood as neglected and repressed ontological parts of the video game art form. The goal is to proceed to the gamification of a materialist and historiographical investigation of the poetic and politic of glitches. In that context, glitchy aesthetic, mechanics, and gameplay become the engines that drive players to playfully engage with this research-creation through their senses, body, and intellect.
Digital video (1920 x 1080), color, sound, 10’ 21”, 2019 (Austria)
Created by Total Refusal
January 29 - February 11 2021
Introduced by Matteo Bittanti
Originally conceived as a video installation, Featherfall is presented on VRAL as a single channel machinima. Adopting the format of the video essay, the project began as an investigation of the relationship between game playing and dreaming, a recurrent topic in video game forums. In their psychoanalytic examination sui generis, Austrian collective Total Refusal (Robin Klengel, Leonhard Müllner, Michael Stumpf) suggest that games and dreams have much in common. Featherfall focuses on the archetypal nightmare of falling, which in video games is often exacerbated by a recurring programming error otherwise known as a glitch which causes the player’s alter ego to suddenly disappear beneath the surface, plummeting into a void. This weird phenomenon is known to persist in the players’ subconscious and to resurface in their dreams, like a curse.
Total Refusal is Robin Klengel, Leonhard Müllner, and Michael Stumpf. In their practice, they critically analyze and appropriate digital game spaces and recontextualize them. Playing games but ignoring the intended gameplay, Total Refusal allocates these resources to new activities and narratives, in order to create “public” spaces imbued with critical, even subversive potential. Leonhard Müllner works as an artist in the public and digital space and is currently writing his doctoral thesis at the Linz Art University at the Institute for Art and Cultural Studies. Robin Klengel works in Graz and Vienna as an interdisciplinary artist, illustrator, cultural anthropologist and vice president of the Forum Stadtpark. Michael Stumpf studied philosophy at the University of Vienna and now is an artist, designer and cultural theorist.