COLOSSAL CAVE ADVENTURE – THE MOVIE
Digital video (1024 x 1024), sound, color, 55’ 33”, 2022, Germany
Created by Thomas Hawranke and Lasse Scherffig
January 6 - 19 2023
Introduced by Matteo Bittanti
An adaptation sui generis of an early text-based adventure games, Colossal Cave Adventure - The Movie remediates the program developed by Will Crowther in 1976 based on the architecture of the Mammoth Cave complex in Kentucky. The original game used text to describe the environment whereas the animated film uses AI-generated visuals. Every eight seconds, the AI system receives a new textual description, taken from Colossal Cave Adventure’s source code, comprising 379 inputs ranging from narrative descriptions of nature to jargon from the vocabulary of speleologists to single words meaning an object, a compass direction, or an exclamation. The camera constantly moves downwards, digging through geological layers and exposing new cave spaces again and again.
Born in 1977 in Bergisch Gladbach, Germany, Thomas Hawranke is a media artist and researcher whose practice investigates the influence of technology on society and the impact of computational logic onto human-animal-machine relationships. In his eclectic interventions, Hawranke operates at the intersection of performance and video art: a central concern of his is bringing to the surface the ideologies that inform everyday life. Hawranke graduated in Media Art at the Academy of Media Arts Cologne and received a PhD from the Bauhaus-University in Weimar, Germany, with a dissertation on the modification of video games, also known as modding, as a method for artistic research. Since 2005, he has been a member of susigames, an independent art label founded in 2003 that investigates alternative gaming’s approaches, and he is the co-founder of the Paidia Institute in Cologne. His works have been presented at several exhibitions and festivals, including the zkm_gameplay in Karlsruhe and the RENCONTRES INTERNATIONALES PARIS/BERLIN. Hawranke lives and works in Cologne, Germany.
Lasse Scherffig is an artist and scientist with a background in cognitive science/machine learning and computer science. Scherffig is interested in the relationship of humans, machines, and society; cybernetics and the technological infrastructures of communication and control; and the cultures and aesthetics of computation and interaction. His work oscillates between computer science and experimental artistic practices, engineering and amateur/DIY methods, science and humanities. A professor of Interaction Design at Köln International School of Design, he previously served as the Department Chair of Art and Technology at San Francisco Art Institute, where he taught as assistant professor. Scherffig co-founded the artist group Paidia Institute and off topic, magazine for media art. His art projects have been shown at numerous exhibitions. Lasse holds a doctoral degree in Experimental Computer Science from KHM, Academy of Media Arts Cologne.