GameScenes is conducting a series of interviews with artists, critics, curators, and gallery owners operating in the field of Game Art, as part of our ongoing investigation of the social history of this fascinating artworld. 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 Matteo Bittanti and Benjamin Poynter took place via email in October 2012.
Benjamin Poynter is a "practitioner of digital media and independent video games in the contemporary art world" currently living in Reno, Nevada and completing his MFA at University of Nevada, Reno. His work investigates the interaction and intersection between the real and the virtual. As he writes in his artist stamement,
"My focus basks in mediums that have come about as an evolution of video art including indie games, interactivity, electronics, digital applications, programming language, and computer graphics. In addition, I maintain my respects toward a skill set which informs clarity I seek including performance, dialogue, animation, cinematography, editing, and open narrative structure." (Benjamin Poynter)
His latest project is a game for smartphones titled In A Permanent Save State, which "imagines the spiritual afterlife of seven overworked laborers who have committed suicide" alluding to real-life events at Foxconn's electronics manufacturing plants in 2010. Predictably, the game was removed by Apple from the App Store less than an hour after it went live on October 12 2012. Apple did not release an official comment and did not explained the rationale behind their decision. We talked to Benjamin about critical video games and technological cults.
Benjamin Poynter, Houses of the Holy, 2011, installation View at Momentum: Art Never Stands Still, OCK