"Game Art Worlds: The Early Years" is an ongoing series curated by Mathias Jansson on the pioneers of Game Art. It features interviews with seminal artists that changed the landscapes of Game Art. Our goal is to illustrate the genesis and evolution of a phenomenon that changed the way game-based art is being created, experienced, and discussed today. The conversation between Mathias Jansson and Rosemarie Fiore took place via email in December 2010.
Fiore was born in New York State and currently lives and works in New York City. In 2001, Fiore took long exposure photographs of video war games of the 80's created by Atari, Centuri and Taito. As she wrote on her website: "The photographs were shot from video game screens while I played the games. By recording each second of an entire game on one frame of film, I captured complex patterns not normally seen by the eye." This series left a mark in the minds in the emerging game Art scene and forced viewers to rethink the very notion of game photography.
Rosemarie Fiore, "Tempest 1", 2001, digital c print, 4 ft x 6 ft
GameScenes: A decade ago you made a series of long exposure photographs of video games of the 1980s by Atari, Centuri and Taito. How and why did you choose these specific arcade titles?
Rosemarie Fiore: I took long exposure photographs of 1980 vector-based video games by opening up the shutter as soon as I began the game and closing the shutter when my ship blew up. Sometimes the exposure time lasted for many minutes, other times it lasted for just a few seconds. Each negative recorded a lifetime in cyber space. Before developing the images, I imported them into Photoshop. There, I removed the score and man/ship count leaving just the image extracted from its context. The games I chose to photograph were ones that I played in the 1980s at my local arcade (Gyruss, Quantum, Battlezone, Missile Command, Asteroids, Qix and Tempest). I chose them intuitively though many of them had to do with conflict or war.
Gamescenes: What is you personal relationships with videogames? Do you consider them a tool for artistic experimentation?
Rosemarie Fiore: I had a very typical relationship with video games growing up in the late 1970s and early 1980s. I remember Pong was the first video game I played on our TV. We then got a Magnavox Odyssey. Arcade style video games were pretty much a new thing and large arcades were opening up all over the place. My brother and I would ride our bikes to the local arcade where we would play for hours. At that time, you could play a long time on one quarter. I’ll never forget playing Asteroids for the first time and experiencing zero gravity. It felt so real. I didn’t think about video games as an art-making tool or consider the images it could generate until I began exploring this idea in my own work.
GameScenes: Have you worked with videogames in some other forms? Is it something you would like to come back to in the future?
Rosemarie Fiore: I would like to return to working with video games in the future. Although the imagery from these long exposure photographs is very present in my work. I see it in the paintings created with a Scrambler amusement park ride as well as my “Firework Drawings”.
Rosemarie Fiore, "Quantum 2', 2002, digital c print, 36 in x 40 in
Kinetic painting is a recurrent theme in your works, e.g. pinball paintings, rear wiper and lawn mower paintings. Why are you fascinated by capturing kinetic traces on your canvas?
Rosemarie Fiore: I am interested in marks generated by mechanisms and technology. It is the way I remove my hand from the work and introduce decisions from another source. The other source introduces the unexpected into the work. I then respond in some way. I work collaboratively with the mechanism. We go back and forth. Over time, this is the way the image is constructed. I am presently working the same way with colored smoke bomb fireworks by capturing and composing the movement of the smoke they release on paper.
Link: Rosemarie Fiore
All images courtesy of the artist
Text by Mathias Jansson