"Make your own exhibitions. Examine it, rip it apart and learn from it and do copy it. Don´t forget that stealing is everything." from the Museum Meltdown arken.map README by Palle Torsson and Tobias Bernstrup (1996)
Tobias Bernstrup and Palle Torsson collaboratively created a series of Art Games in the form of Art Mods called Museum Meltdown from 1996 to 1999. these Art Mods are among the first of their kind, New Media Art interventions into the site of their own exhibition which utilize the possibilities presented by the First Person Shooter as a genre of games. i interviewed Bernstrup and Torsson in 2007 to discuss these Media Art Histories for an essay of mine called Running and Gunning in the Gallery: Art Mods, Art Institutions and the Artists that Destroy Them, which will appear in From Diversion to Subversion: Games, Play, and Twentieth-Century Art, edited by David Getsy. our discussion is both technical and conceptual, involving questions of Institutional Critique, site specificity and personal reflections of the often self-relfexive process of making museums meltdown...
Q: how did you arrive @ the idea of developing the first instance of MUSEUM MELTDOWN in 1996 @ Arken Museum of Modern Art?
were there any previous works (artworks, levels, mods, etc) that particularly inspired or influenced you then in making the first MUSEUM MELTDOWN?
A: "At that time I was collaborating a lot with artist Palle Torsson. We met in art college and shared an interested for video computers performance and Internet. We did an early web based project 'Join Hands' in 1995. We both played a lot of computer games and was fascinated by the revolutionary game Doom and the possibilities of modifying the actual game. The initial idea of MM came while planning a new piece for a show at Arken MoMA, we went to see the museum space and were struck by similarities between the museum and a 3D shooter game. The museum interior had a lot of game like texture details such as fake metal panels and big sliding metal doors. So we came up with the idea of designing a game map based on the plan drawings and textures of the space. The in game artworks were to be reduced to low res pixelated images, working as recognizable symbols. The game engine we used was Duke Nukem 3D. Museum Meltdown 1 was followed by two more museum project until 1999 when Palle we did the a version of the Modern Museum in Stockholm based on the Half-Life graphical engine." - /tobias" (Jon Cates)
From "Running and Gunning in the Gallery: Art Mods, Art Institutions and the Artists that Destroy Them", included in From Diversion to Subversion: Games, Play, and Twentieth-Century Art, edited by David Getsy, in 2011.