"Game Art is a relatively new artistic practice that uses digital gaming as its inspiration or medium. In the last two decades, several artists have appropriated technological, aesthetic, and conceptual elements of electronic games to create artworks ranging from paintings to sculptures, repurposed games and site-specific installations. Among the genres of Game Art also we also find machinima - digitally animated videos created with game-based technology, e.g. 3D engines - data visualization, and performances in-game, online, in RL. Although hacking, modding and appropriation tactics are very common in this domain, it would be incorrect to label Game Art as merely derivative. Equally wrong is to equate Game Art to Digital Art, Net Art or Interactive Art. In its finest conceptual manifestations, Game Art represents one of the most thought-provoking artistic practices of our age. Artists like Eddo Stern, Joseph Delappe, Damiano Colacito, Cory Arcangel, Brody Condon, Miltos Manetas, Eva and Franco Mattes have explored the intersections between physical existence and electronic simulation, with a particular emphasis on the grey areas where the two converge and collapse, overlap and merge. Marco Mendeni belongs to this generation of artists that grew up in a digitally saturated mediascape. His artworks represent the trait d’union between art and technology, as he both references the historical tradition - consider, for instance, “Concrete Works” which give tangibility to the ethereal, fluid landscapes of gaming - and embraces innovation, as his machinima series perfectly demonstrates. Ditto for the “Impossible Backgrounds” performances, a synesthetic, intoxicating experience in which sounds, images, and physical interaction create a new kind of reality. In short, Mendeni does not simply recontextualize the medium. He effectively reconfigures it because he is aesthetically and conceptually articulate. That is, Mendeni understands the evolution of art and also “speaks” the language of code. The implications are twofold. First, by abandoning the imperative of representation, Mendeni explores the potential of simulation and its unexpected algorithmic pathos. Secondly, he forces the viewer to confront the very nature of the real, its inner contradictions, bugs, and glitches." (Matteo Bittanti, March 2013)
Matteo Bittanti is a Senior Adjunct Professor in the Visual Studies and in the Visual & Critical Studies programs at California College of the Arts in San Francisco and Oakland. He is also a multimedia artist whose work lies at the intersection of digital gaming, cinema, and the web. Bittanti writes about art, technology, cinema, digital games, and popular culture for various publications, including WIRED, Rolling Stone, PLAYERS, and LINK. He currently lives in San Francisco.