Mak Ying Tung 2, Home Sweet Home, 2019 (installation shots De Sarthe)
Home Sweet Home (2019-) is a series are triptychs on canvas created by Mak Ying Tung 2 through a fascinating process. First the artist appropriated and modified images from The Sims and then she asked three separate painters on the Chinese e-commerce platform Taobao to paint them. A commentary on the nature of images, outsourcing, the gig economy, authorial control, and digital culture, Home Sweet Home uses the aesthetic of utopia to depict an increasingly dystopian world. Mak 2’s images depict colorful rooms filled with CCTV cameras, millennial hangout spots, and pools on "green roofs" filled with plants. Mak 2 screen grabbed digital fantasies enacted within the world of The Sims and subsequently divided the images into thirds. Each third was then painted by a separate painter found on Taobao, who was given as little instruction as possible. Thus, Mak 2 partially abdicated her authorship and delegated part of the production to a third party whom she did not previously knew. Home Sweet Home illustrates the contradictions of the Generation Z(oom), in which the very idea of domesticity, labor, and art requires a radical rethinking.
Mak Ying Tung 2 was born in Hong Kong in 1989. She graduated from City University of Hong Kong with a Bachelor’s degree in Critical Intermedia Art in 2013. Mak Ying Tung 2 currently lives and works in Hong Kong. Mak 2 is a conceptual artist and her work is not defined by any medium. Her recent works contemplate contemporary issues through the study of Humanities. The aesthetic experience she crafts is bound by the dualism of humor and intense, often dark inquisitiveness.
Participatory Worlds was launched in 2020 thanks to an effort by Bournemouth University in the UK and supported by Arts Council England. The project is led by José Blázquez.
"This project investigates three creative practices (‘machinima’, in-game photography and gamics) performed by audience members, normally end-users, which make use of videogame assets to convey stories and produce works of art. ‘Press Start’ aims to raise public awareness of the possibilities of these practices for creative expression and educational purposes by engaging with the general public, artists, scholars and teaching professionals. The project will produce four publications, an art exhibition displaying works from United Kingdom and international artists, practice-based workshops, and a seminar. "
Check their website for resources and activities, featuring artworks by Joshua Lee, JBS Gaming; Logic Films; Beatriz Vigario; CrazyFox; Frans Bouma; Akumath; Megan Miller; Irregular Saturn among others.
LINK: Participatory Worlds
Essential piece on art, video games and photography by Gideon Jacobs on the February 2021 issue of ARTFORUM. A key passage:
But it’s possible that a better approach to the issue removes technology from the equation entirely. Instead of Hershel, we might refer to the pragmatic definition offered by legendary MoMA curator John Szarkowski: “One might compare the art of photography to the act of pointing.” In-game photography is certainly pointing, it’s just pointing that occurs in places that we don’t yet deem as weighty and consequential as our tangible reality.
In his latest project, Akihiko Taniguchi conflates game engines, video game editors, and selfies:
This is a software that can generate 3D avatars from a single photo of a face, and take selfies in a virtual space. The part that generates 3D face shapes from a single photo uses the Avatar SDK, a tool that uses deep learning. In other words, 3D models are generated by inferring the 3D shape from the participant's face photo from the huge number of someone's face photo and 3D model learning data. The face of the 3D model generated in this way is fragmentarily similar to the vast majority of past learning data. Can you conclude that all of the generated 3D heads are mine?Also, in photographs taken in a virtual space, the subject is already rendered every frame before shooting, and is represented as a set of pixels on the screen. In other words, can you call it a picture when what you see and the picture taken are exactly the same physically? Or what does "shooting" in a virtual photograph reflect?
Akihiko Taniguchi lives and works in Japan. Artist. He is a full time lecturer of Tama Art University and part-time lecturer of Musashino Art University. His practice features installations, performances and video works using self-built devices and software. In recent years, he has been focusing on net.art and sometimes VJing. Among others, his work was presented at "dangling media" ("emergencies! 004" at "Open Space 2007," ICC, Tokyo, 2007), "Space of Imperception" (Radiator Festival, UK, 2009), "redundant web" (Internet, 2010) "[Internet Art Future?]" (ICC, Tokyo, 2012) and others.
LINK: Akihiko Taniguchi
Regine Petersen, Civilization II hit by Park Forest meteorite in 2003,Archival pigment ink print, 130 x 108 cm
Regine Petersen (b. 1976 in Hamburg, Germany) received her MA in Photography from the Royal College of Art, London (2009). Her work has been presented in various solo and group shows internationally, such as Rencontres d'Arles in France, Foam Museum in Amsterdam and Aperture Gallery in New York. She captures moments that are both spontaneous and carefully engineered. These images are a vehicle for thinking, for ruminating on the balance between what is visible and invisible, and the fine line between intimacy and detachment. She often chooses subjects that can be studied from various angles, like meteorites, which she examines as cosmological, astronomical, geological, philosophical, historical, and emotional artifacts. She also photographs objects hit by meteorites, like the package of Sid Meier's Civilization II. A premediation of the planet's imminent destruction?
LINK: Regine Petersen
Petri Levälahti aka Berduu works at EA DICE in Stockholm. He's also an accomplished game photographer: his flickr stream is a visual triumph ("video game tourism, snapping shots as mementos", he told EA). Like Duncan Harris, Berduu pursues an aestheticized digital photorealism that recalls Jean Baudrillard's notion of iper-reality using camera hacks and mods developed by other modders, including Finnish maestro Matti Hietanen and Dutch wunderkind Frans Bouma.
However, what I find truly fascinating is Levälahti's machinima portfolio, which includes delicious shorts made with Grand Theft Auto V, like the following trifecta. Incidentally, all the GTA videos star three different characters. Both absurdist in tone and slickly produced, these videos exemplify Barduu's impressive technical prowess.
Equally impressive are his Battlefield 1 machinima. Consider his 4K "restorations" of fictional movies (It Came From the Desert, 1968 and Outpost, 1961), created by amalgamating a variety of media sources (novels, games, films) including Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian, Cinemaware's It Came From the Desert, and The Innocents (1961).
The latest issue of Heterotopias (#4) focuses on the theme of landscape in virtual worlds, its contraction, simulation, and exploration.
Below are the highlights:
004’s cover piece is on the forests of The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, which in this issue are shown in all their glory in an original photo series. In an accompanying feature Lewis Gordon explores how the game’s depiction of real-world landscapes connects to Polish and European folklore, as well as a history of political struggle. A new interview with core members of the CD Projekt Red team completes our series on this exceptional game.
Elsewhere in the issue Miguel Penabella explores the influence of scenography, in particular the work of Adolphe Appia, on Cardboard Computer’s tale of debt and decay: Kentucky Route Zero. Meanwhile Sam Zucchi looks at the relationship between depictions of landscape and colonialism through the lens of the classic Oddworld game, Stranger’s Wrath.
Other features include a photo series exploring the virus-like patterns of No Man’s Sky‘s procedural landscapes, Rosa Carbo-Mascarell’s beautiful watercolor maps of Proteus as well as features on the long forgotten proto open-world of Lego Island and the ecohorror of Night in the Woods.
Also featured are Eron Rauch's haunting glitchscapes, part of his World of Warcraft landscape photography.
LINK: Heteropias #4
GameScenes is conducting a series of interviews with artists, critics, curators, and gallery owners operating in the field of Game Art, as part of an ongoing investigation of the social history of this artworld. Our goal is to document and examine both the origins and evolution of a phenomenon that changed the way game-based art is being created, experienced, and discussed today.
We are currently running Season 7, which began in 2017 with a conversation with Alex Hovet.
This episode features a broad/deep conversation with Gareth Damian Martin, a British artist, game designer, scholar, and writer whose practice focuses on the aesthetics, phenomenology, and logics of contemporary video games. Trained in puppetry and theatre, Martin subsequently moved into graphic and video design, literature, and architecture. His writing can be found on some of the most interesting game publications, including - but not limited to - Kill Screen and Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Fascinated by the intersection of architecture and photography in simulated environments, in 2017 Martin launched Heterotopias, on online publication entirely devoted to photographic practices in games. His most recent project, The Continuous City (2018), is a book about game photography available from InBound Publishing.
The following conversation between Matteo Bittanti and Gareth Damian Martin took place via email in March 2018. As usual, the text features embedded links.
Curated by Theresa Bembnister, Associate Curator at Akron Art Museum, Open World: Video Games & Contemporary Art is bound to be one of the most impressive exhibitions entirely dedicated to Game Art of the late Tens. Open in October 2019 and running until January 2020, the exhibition will feature many artworks that are influenced by the popularity and cultural relevance of video games. Open World will include paintings, sculpture, prints, textiles, drawing, animation, video games and modifications and game-based performances and interventions by international artists from the late 1980s to today. The expression "open world" refers both to a genre of gaming where players can define their own goals within a virtual landscape rather than following predetermined paths, but also to the opportunities video games offer for creative expression. The exhibition will also feature early arcade games, text adventure, modern multi-player online games and first-person shooters. Commercial games will not be included, making Open World: Video Games & Contemporary Art the antithesis of The Smithsonian's The Art of Games. The full line up has not been announced yet, but artists confirmed include Butt Johnson (New York), Angelo Ray Martinez (South Bend, Indiana), Tim Portlock (St. Louis), Suzanne Treister (London) and Angela Washko (Pittsburgh). Other artists under considerations are Tabor Robak, Cory Arcangel and many more. The Akron Art Museum recently received a $30.000 grant by the National Endowment for the Arts as part of its first major funding for fiscal year 2018. The grant will be used to fund the exhibition.
Stay tuned for more information.
LINK: Akron Art Museum