June 15 - June 20 2022
The exhibition showcases 24 international games grouped into 4 nodes. It is accompanied by a program of round tables (Friday the 17th), a Makey Makey workshop (Saturday the 18th), a cicle of documentaries (Sunday the 19th) and a reading space which aims to give an intro to the local scene of gamestudies in Spain.
As curator María Luján Oulton writes:
I also wanted to invite you to listen to the round tables that will be taking place tomorrow Friday 17th and will be live streamed via youtube The sessions will be in English with local and international speakers. The topics will be: Museum & Videogames, Affect & play, Artgames curators and festivals, Videogames, activism and politics, Postmortem clinic.
The Centre de la photographie Genève
Pascal Greco’s Performance
Schedule: 6:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m.
Discussion with Pascal Greco and Danaé Panchaud
Schedule: 9:00 p.m.
The Centre de la photographie Genève explores the changes in the practice of photography in the era of "virtual" worlds, during an evening devoted to in-game photography, a technique consisting of taking photographs in a video game. As we spend more and more time in digital spaces, on social networks, in metaverses or games, new forms of "photographic" documentation of certain environments, and more particularly landscapes in computer graphics, seem generate growing interest. Throughout the evening, the public will be able to observe the exploration of the photographic potential of the game Death Stranding on PlayStation 5 (on site and on Twitch) with Pascal Greco, performance linked to his Place(s) project which he will talk to us about also during a round table. A digital work produced during the evening, certified in the form of NFT, will be drawn among the public. He will also have the opportunity to experiment with in-game photography on site.
LINK: Pascal Greco
Radical Gaming - Immersion Simulation Subversion
An exhibition curated by Boris Magrini
September 2 - November 14 2021
House of Electronic Arts Basel
The international group exhibition Radical Gaming presents a selection of artists who investigate the structures, technologies and aesthetics of a global gaming industry. Their works are characterised by a particularly unconventional approach to employing the immersion and interaction inherent to video games, whose common narratives and stereotypes they subversively undermine.
Artist: Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley, Leo Castañeda, Sara Culmann, Debbie Ding, Keiken, Lawrence Lek, Mikhail Maksimov, Cassie McQuater, Sahej Rahal, Nicole Ruggiero, Jacolby Satterwhite, Eddo Stern, Theo Triantafyllidis, Miyö Van Stenis, Lu Yang
The best review so far is, unsurprisingly, from We Make Money Not Art. Here's an excerpt:
The interactive experiences of this avant-garde sub-genre also differ from mainstream contemporary gaming: instead of being purely adrenaline-fuelled, the rules of engagement involve meditative states, involvement of multiple senses, modified controllers, etc. They deviate from what the industry normally offers/sells. But that doesn’t mean that they are not fun, in their own, strange ways.
Theo Triantafyllidis, Pastoral, (Video Game), 2019. Exhibition view at HeK (House of electronic Arts Basel), Photo: Franz Wamhof
LINK: Radical Gaming
Pascal Greco, Place(s), Chambre Noire, 2021, book cover.
Swiss-Italian photographer Pascal Greco examines the changing notion of place, space, and travel in the age of video games and lockdowns. His latest project, Place(s) is an investigation of the photographic potential of a video game’s landscapes through the lens of its photo mode. With a curious catch: the resulting images are presented in the traditional square-sized Polaroid format rather than the more "cinematic" format of gaming. By adding a level of mediation - or rather, remediation - Greco applies a unique approach to the growing practice of in-game photography and merging the vestiges of "photography" (which climaxed with the emerge of "instant" photography) with the new normal of "post-photography" (Greco has used this format before, including the ambitious Polaroid 664 Project). Like several unplanned projects that eventually became iconic and perhaps also ironic (Michael Wolf's A Series of Unfortunate Events comes to mind), Greco's Place(s) is the outcome of a catastrophic event. Greco originally planned a trip to Iceland for a photoshoot, but his plans were derailed by the COVID-19 global pandemic. The journey was meant as a continuation of his 2013 project No Cliché, which aimed at conveying an unusual imagery of much-photographed Iceland. Stuck at home, he began exploring the potential of the so-called photo mode within Hideo Kojima's groundbreaking Death Stranding. The game offers a sophisticated tool for taking and manipulating "photographs", allowing the player to manage most parameters of a "real" camera ( aperture, zoom, focus ) and some basic post production tools (e.g., contrast and saturation). The rest is history. The video game constraints and affordances led Greco do rethink his approach to photography. Place(s) is a photographic documentation of landscapes evocative of a mystical and idealized Iceland, questioning the very notion of place in the digital age but also the very notion of travelling in an age where globalization is finally collapsing and boundaries have multiplied. As Greco writes:
In March 2020 I had planned a trip to Iceland to continue my photographic project started with my book No Cliché, which aimed at conveying an unusual imagery of much photographed Iceland. Due to travel restrictions, I was unable to set out on the journey. During the lockdown I discovered the game Death Stranding, on PlayStation 4, with its landscapes reminiscent of Iceland and instead started taking pictures in the game. This unexpected turn of events gave a new dimension to the project. Using the game and its constraints as a playground for experimentation, I undertook a meticulous yet playful photographic process, translating my approach to photography to the making of digital images. In the same way my polaroids had previously challenged the stereotyped representations of the country, the images that have emerged frame aspects of the landscape that usually remain unseen. But where No Cliché goes against the dominant imagery emanating from the island, Place(s) embraces its codes and plays with the ambiguity of an anonymous landscape made familiar. As digital images, they question both in-game and traditional photography by setting a point where the two meet and intertwine.
Pascal Greco, Place(s), 2021
Pascal Greco's Place(s) will be published by Chambre Noire and is now available for pre-order both on the artist's website and from the publisher. Designed by Ann Griffin, it will be sold in limited edition of 300 copies on October 18 2021 (40% of the profits will be donated to Choose Love). Place(s) includes 55 photographs and is printed in a bilingual edition (French and English). Greco discussed his project with Marco De Mutiis, Digital Curator at Fotomuseum Winterthur and co-curator of the exhibition How to Win at Photography - Image Making as Play, on September 11 2021. The book launch will take place at the Centre de la Photographie Genève on October 14 2021.
Greco's fascination for video games is not new. In a sense, the artist has been exploring the pervasive influence of gaming on culture and society for at least a decade. One of his most fascinating projects is the multimedia Hong Kong Neon (2021) which comprises a book and a film. An homage to the now disappearing neon signage in Hong Kong, the book is evocative of an age, the Eighties, marked by the emergence of electronic music and video games.
Pascal Greco, Hong Kong Neon, 2021
Pascal Greco is a self-taught filmmaker, cinematographer and photographer, living and working in Geneva. Among his most celebrated projects are Shadow, which was presented in 2017 at the LU in Nantes and at the GIFF in Geneva, a magnetic, intense and hypnotic film with actress Asia Argento and her daughter Anna-Lou Castoldi, that he codirected with Philippe Pellaud. Shadow was released in a limited vinyl edition with the film inside on a private streaming, in January 2019, on the label Pamela and Poor Records. His first feature length documentary, The Scavengers (coming soon), describes the older community living Hong Kong, with insufficient or no retirement to cover their basic needs and expenses, and who, to meet their needs, collect all day long, paper, cardboard or sagex, to resell them by the kilo at a ridiculous price. His photographic work focuses on architecture and its place in the landscape. As of today, six works of his photographs have been published. Kyoshu, nostalgie du pays (Infolio, 2007) presents moments of life across Japan. Seoul Shanghai Tokyo (idpure, 2010) brings together photographs that reveal the contrast between modern architecture and the dilapidated architecture of these three big cities, RATRAK (Verlhac, 2012), with Gabriel Mauron, reveals the ski resorts, at night, with the machine’s beam of light. No Cliché (Jane & Jeremy, 2013) offers Polaroids of architectures lost in the vastness of Iceland. Hong Kong - Perspectives, Prospectives, Typologies (Infolio & Mccm Creations, 2018) describes the typology of Hong Kong’s atypical and unique architecture. In April 2021, Greco released his book & film Hong Kong Neon (Infolio & Mccm Creations, 2021), which he produced between 2012 to December 2019, which ended his diptych on Hong Kong. His work was exhibited internationally at Espace abstract, Lausanne, Musée Alexis Forel, Morges, Guillaume Daeppen Galerie, Basel (solo) and La Ferme de la Chapelle, Geneva and in Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne (group) among others. Gis work was featured in several publication, including The Guardian, Vice, Monocle, Fast Company, Bloomberg CityLab, GUP, Polka and Fisheye.
Edited by Matteo Bittanti and Gemma Fantacci
Release date: August 6 2021
Series: GAME VIDEO/ART STUDIES
Features: Softcover, 342 pages, 138 illustrations
Format: 6×9 inches, 15×23 cm
Price: 17,99 euros
Introduced in April 2020 amidst a global pandemic, VRAL is a uniquely curated game video experience, offering screenings of machinima created by artists and filmmakers whose work lies at the intersection of video art, cinema, animation, and gaming. The program features outstanding video works selected on the basis of their cultural relevance, artistic achievement, and innovative style. An online space that provides access to a range of diverse voices supplementing and expanding the Milan Machinima Festival, VRAL celebrates a new generation of digital filmmakers and artists and offers a deeper, broader understanding of machinima as an art form. This book collects all Season One’s interviews (exhibitions 01 to 21), including extra content previously released online. Featured artists: Victor Morales, Aleksandar Radan, Jordy Veenstra, Petra Széman, Thomas Hawranke, Brenton Alexander Smith, Jón Bjarki Magnússon, David Blandy, Brent Watanabe, Edwin Lo, Fantastic Little Splash, Mikhail Maximov, Luca Miranda, Mario Mu, Antoine Chapon, Bob-Bicknell Knight, Isabelle Arvers, Total Refusal, COLLEO, Carson Lynn, and Mateus Domingos.
"The exhibition Homo Ludens proposes an anthropological journey through the playful dimension of human beings through video games, a cultural, aesthetic and artistic phenomenon that is essential in contemporary mass culture. It is currently estimated that more than 2.5 billion people are video game players. Starting from the centrality of the game in our lives, the exhibition's journey approaches video games in a broad and holistic sense, and addresses the role of play as a regulating practice of human activity, both in the history of culture and today. Rather than being a history of video games, the exhibition provides a basically anthropological vision, bringing together culture and technology, industry and art.
The content of the exhibition combines examples of video games with contemporary artworks by the following artists: Rasheed Abueideh, Anna Anthropy, Matteo Bittanti and the collective IOCOSE, Ricardo B. Brasilero, Daniel Canogar, Robbie Cooper, Jake Elliott, Bruno Federico, Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn, Roc Herms, Agustina Isidori, David Jaumandreu, Ge Jin, Tamas Kemenczy and Ben Babbitt, Josep Lago, Jorge Paris, Nadège Mazars, MesquitaFMS, Hamilton Mestizo, Juan Naharro Gimenez, Roman Pilipey, Everest Pipkin, David Ramos, Linnea Rheborg, Mario von Rickenbach and Christian Etter, Pietro Righi Riva, Monica Rikić, Skawennati, Octavi Serra, Bill Viola and USC Game Innovation Lab, and Robert Yang.
In the exhibition, themes such as the anthropological roots of the game that are transferred to the video game, its million-dollar industry, the influence of video game aesthetics in other disciplines such as art and design, identity in a world where the real coexists with the virtual, among other issues.
The exhibition invites to an interactive and participatory tour in which the viewer acts as a gamer, although without playing at any time with the video games on display. The viewer chooses the itinerary from a central square that acts as an antechamber and distribution space of the exhibition. The visitor can interact with the exhibition through a device -the Coin-, an object that allows the viewer to build his or her opinion as he or she answers a series of questions. The answers also allow a collective knowledge of the participation of all visitors. On the large screen installed in the last room of the exhibition, a community of avatars is projected, representing, in real time, the accumulated data of all the visitors to the exhibition.
In this way, the exhibition provides a new perspective on the concept of the gamer and shows a gamified world in which life and play merge and in which we are all, in one way or another, gamers. This hypothesis, based on the work of sociologist and game scholar Daniel Muriel, is reflected in the video essay "Gameworlds: the video-gamification of the real" by Luca Carrubba and Daniel Muriel, directed by LaviniaNext and produced by "La Caixa" Foundation.
The exhibition also includes a catalog (in Spanish) that presents in detail all the works installed and proposes a reflective framework for their interpretation. This publication, which I had the pleasure of thinking, coordinating and writing, also includes texts by guest authors such as Oliver Perez La Torre, Flavio Escribano, Luján Oulton, Eurídice Cabañes, Carlos Scolari and Daniel Muriel.
The exhibition will be traveling during the next four years touring all major cities in Spain. So if you do not have time to get to Madrid you can see the exhibition soon in Barcelona, Sevilla, Zaragoza, Valencia, Palma, Tarragona, Girona." (Luca Carrubba)
LINK: Homo Ludens
In 1987, Italian photographer Fabio Ponzio embarked on a photographic odyssey across Central Europe, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. He began his journey in Istanbul, Turkey and later made his way through Romania, Hungary, and other countries, equipped with a Leica, three Nikons and 100 rolls of film, as the Soviet Block started to crumble, first slowly then suddenly. His travelogue was eventually published in a book titled East of Nowhere.
In 2020, Italian photographer Leonardo Magrelli collected a series of images of Grand Theft Auto V's Los Santos from the web. He found these images on Instagram, Flickr, blogs and so on and then edited, cropped and turned them to black and white. In April 2021, these images - the outcome of another kind of travelogue, one that didn't require any physical movement - were published in a book titled West of Here: LA Landscapes and Grand Theft Auto. Interestingly, Magrelli's blatant and ironic act of appropriation and recontextualization was criticized by several game photographers that found their images reproduced in a book without their consent or even knowledge. And yet, all in-game photography is, itself, an act of appropriation and recontextualization as photographers do not own the rights of the digital spaces they are reproducing. In short, the game photographers got pwned by Magrelli, the Richard Prince of virtual photography.
Interestingly, the official book page features the following disclaimer, casting the project as "fandom":
This book represents a tribute to the well-known Grand Theft Auto V video game, published by Rockstar Games, the legitimate owner of all rights. As a fan artwork, all the profits deriving from the sale are exclusively intended to cover the production costs of the limited run edition.
Born in Rome in 1989, Leonardo Magrelli holds a BA in Design and Architecture from “La Sapienza” university in Rome. In 2010, he began collaborating with Rome’s International Photography Festival and with the photography publishing house, Punctum Press. In 2014, he began primarily focusing on his own personal work. His works have been published in several printed and online photography magazines, and they have been displayed in collective exhibitions and festivals. In 2017, he became part of the collective, Vaste Programme, together with Giulia Vigna and Alessandro Tini.
LINK: Leonardo Magrelli
Unstable Aesthetics Game Engines and the Strangeness of Modding
Bloomsbury Academic, 2021
Throughout the 1990s, artists experimented with game engine technologies to disrupt our habitual relationships to video games. They hacked, glitched, and dismantled popular first-person shooters such as Doom (1993) and Quake (1996) to engage players in new kinds of embodied activity. In Unstable Aesthetics: Game Engines and the Strangeness of Art Modding, Eddie Lohmeyer investigates historical episodes of art modding practices-the alteration of a game system's existing code or hardware to generate abstract spaces-situated around a recent archaeology of the game engine: software for rendering two and three-dimensional gameworlds.
The contemporary artists highlighted throughout this book-Cory Arcangel, JODI, Julian Oliver, Krista Hoefle, and Brent Watanabe, among others –- were attracted to the architectures of engines because they allowed them to explore vital relationships among abstraction, technology, and the body. Artists employed a range of modding techniques-hacking the ROM chips on Nintendo cartridges to produce experimental video, deconstructing source code to generate psychedelic glitch patterns, and collaging together surreal gameworlds-to intentionally dissect the engine's operations and unveil illusions of movement within algorithmic spaces. Through key moments in game engine history, Lohmeyer formulates a rich phenomenology of video games by focusing on the liminal spaces of interaction among system and body, or rather the strangeness of art modding.
A must read!
LINK: Unstable Aesthetics
LINK: Eddie Lohmeyer
Artist and curator Eron Rauch's latest project is Such is the Power of the Empty lot, a companion volume to the recently released Heterotopias 7, a wonderful publication on architecture and video games by Gareth Damian Martin.
As Rauch write, "The book uses a wide mixture of real and virtual photographic methods (including multiple types of video game screenshots) to link the fictional versions of Tokyo, real estate bubbles' effects on urban landscapes, the weirdness of video game historical recreations, and photography's nebulous role in the age of screens." Rauch contemplating a limited physical run of the 100+ page book. Text is by Justin Reeve.
Eron Rauch is an artist, writer, and curator based in Los Angeles whose projects bridge the shadowy hinterlands between fine art, fandom, digital imaging, landscape history, and video games. Among his game-photography work is Glitchscapes and A Land to Die In. He received his MFA in Photography and Media at the California Institute of the Arts, where he teaches an inter-media photography course. His projects often repurpose platforms and spaces outside of traditional fine arts venues to bring disparate audiences into new conversations. His writing has been featured in eight languages and his artwork has been shown in the United States, France, and Japan. Eron is a collaborating curator for the contemporary photography section of William's College Art Museum's upcoming Repro Japan exhibit, and has worked with Glitch City in curating at IndieCade West’s 2019 Night Games.
LINK: Eron Rauch