It does not get more meta than this.
LINK: Akihiko Taniguchi
To create WE BUILD WORLDS, Krista Hoefle appropriated No Man’s Sky by Hello Game and juxtaposed its "seductive imagery" of gameplay with "an unattainable rewards system
(out of reach papercraft gems)". The resulting machinima is fragmented into color fields that have a confusing effect on the viewer. By deliberately obfuscating the goal of the game, Hoefle is renouncing its functional logic while simultaneously emphasizing the lethal nature of the lush environment (“toxicity level 70%”). As Hoefle writes,
The structural grid—projected onto the floor and walls—breaks through the lush scenery as a “healthy sign” (in accordance with Roland Barthes), a sign that “draws attention to its own arbitrariness, which does not try to play itself off as ‘natural’ but which, in the very moment of conveying a meaning, communicates something of its own relative, artificial status as well” (from Literary Theory by Terry Eagleton). WE BUILD WORLDS reflects an isolation and artifice that comes with our technological experiences.
Krista Hoefle is an artist and gamer from the Midwest. She exhibits her work nationally, and is represented by Aron Packer Projects (Chicago). She uses games as a a medium for sculpture and installation, questioning the logic and aesthetics of gaming systems through installations, interactive sculpture and machinima. Specifically, Hoefle turns commercial videogames into
artworks that amplify play-conditions or are directly interrupted, subverted or adapted (through computational means or game-based performance). 3D digital objects and characters are directly extracted from videogames, rebuilt, and reinterpreted for physical spaces. (Krista Hoefle)
LINK: Krista Hoefle (images and video courtesy of the Artist)
Exhibition: Jon Rafman. The Mental Traveller
Curated by: Diana Baldon
Curatorial Assistance: Chiara Dall’Olio
Institutions: Fondazione Fotografia Modena and Galleria Civica di Modena
Location: Palazzina dei Giardini, Corso Cavour, 2, Modena
Exhibition Dates: 14 September 2018 to 24 February 2019
Opening: 14 September 2018 at 6pm
Press View 12 September 2018 at 11am
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday: 11am to 1pm; 4pm to 7pm
Saturday, Sunday and Holidays: 11am to 7pm
Opening Hours for festivalfilosofia 2018:
Friday 14 September: 9am to 11pm
Saturday 15 September: 9am to 12am
Sunday 16 September: 9am to 9pm
Jon Rafman, Dream Journal 2016-2017, 2017, Colour HD video with stereo sound. Music by James Ferraro and Oneohtrix Point Never, Runtime: 49’17”, Courtesy of the artist and Sprüth Magers
FONDAZIONE MODENA ARTI VISIVE is delighted to present The Mental Traveller, the first large-scale exhibition of works by Jon Rafman to be shown in an Italian contemporary art institution. Curated by Diana Baldon and presented by Fondazione Fotografia Modena and the Galleria Civica di Modena, the exhibition will open at the Palazzina dei Giardini on Friday 14 September 2018, to coincide with this year’s festivalfilosofia, the theme of which is truth.
The exhibition brings together a selection of multimedia installations, presented for the first time in Italy, tracing the arc of the Canadian artist’s practice from 2011 to the present. Employing a variety of media – including photography, video, sculpture and installation – Rafman explores how reality and simulation have become increasingly homogenized in contemporary society in artworks that blur the boundaries between the virtual and the tangible, between physical bodies and technological replicas.
Born in 1981 in Montreal, where he lives and works, Rafman studied literature and philosophy at McGill University before graduating in film, video and new media from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Since his earliest career, Rafman has investigated the ramifications of our reliance on technology on our perceptions of reality.To create Kool-Aid Man (2008–11), Rafman spent three years exploringthe virtual-reality platform Second Life, in the guise of the titular avatar, to discover the myriad incarnationsof its digital ‘inhabitants’. Rafman neither judges nor criticises his Second Life cohabitants: rather, his intention is to document how technology enables people to create entirely new versions of themselves in fantastical environments, giving them the freedom to invent new identities and iconographies.
Rafman also drew from the Internet and its multiple online communities as archival resources for the three videos comprising his Betamale Trilogy (2013–15) – Still Life (Betamale), Mainsqueezeand Erysichthon – which are among the installations included in this exhibition. As in the novels of Georges Bataille, where the narrative arc implodes in the claustrophobic and catastrophic arena of the writing, this leads to a proliferation of narrative strands and interpretations. Watching the Betamale Trilogy, the viewer feels trapped in a vortex of scenarios that are traumatic yet seductive. Rafman skilfully conveys the ambiguous lure of the Internet, which seemingly promises freedom and the discovery of new worlds, yet, in reality, imprisons you in a space tracked by algorithms and monitored by agencies that process, then sell, your navigational data.
Rafman’s extensive research on both the Internet and the deep web has enabled him to assume the mantle of amateur anthropologist and digital flâneur. He investigates the epistemic collapse in recent years of the distinction between digital and authentic worlds, between reality and its virtual representation. In his videos, a poetic and hypnotic off-screen voice invariably accompanies a sequence of images taken from the Internet, videogames or online chat forums.
Memory figures as a major theme in many works. In A Man Digging (2013), which comprises footage from videogames including Max Payne 3, the main character speaks of the intrinsic mutability of memory and how it allows for the rewriting of individual and collective history. While the narrator nostalgically drifts along in search of his fragmented past, Rafman transports us, via the glinting surfaces of memory, to the furthest reaches of reality. The video Remember Carthage (2013)tells the story of a man who sets sail on a ship bound for Tunisia in search of a mythical city in the Sahara Desert that existed at the same time as Carthage. Despite its legendary status as the ‘Las Vegas of Maghreb’, however, no trace of the city remains. Composed of footage from Second Life and the videogame Uncharted 3, the film again features an off-camera voice detailing the sublime architectural beauty of ancient civilisations. Remember Carthage explores not only memory but the contemporaneity of history, since – thanks to technological developments such as videogames and Second Life– even history can now find a different form and influence.
The video Dream Journal (2016–17) comes from Rafman’s habit of animating his dreams using amateur 3D software, and has a soundtrack composed by James Ferraro and Oneohtrix Point Never, with whom the artist has previously collaborated. Two young female protagonists – a stereotypical millennial and a child warrior – set off on a Dantean journey within a dystopian universe. The narrative interweaves imaginary scenes with characters from classical epic tales to yield a series of darkly surreal incidents: this is Rafman’s unconscious mind, augmented by online surfing, rendered visual.
Greeting visitors at the entrance of the Palazzina is the artist’s latest work, Legendary Reality (2017). In this he leads us on a voyage into ‘inner space’. An anonymous protagonist narrates a journey through what appears to be a sci-fi landscape – although he could just as easily be sitting at a computer screen on which historical depictions have become conflated with virtual experiences.
Jon Rafman (Montreal, 1981) is an artist who explores digital culture and subcultures, exposing the desires, obsessions and fetishes triggered by the use of technological devices. Recent solo shows in international contemporary art institutions include:I have ten thousand compound eyes and each is named suffering, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2016); Jon Rafman, Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster (2016); Jon Rafman, Zabludowicz Collection, London (2015); The end of the end of the end,Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis (2014); Remember Carthage, First Look: New Art Online, New Museum, New York (2013); The Nine Eyes of Google Streetview, Saatchi Gallery, London (2012); Jon Rafman, online exhibition, Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012). He has also participated in numerous group shows, including: I was raised on the Internet, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2018); Alone together, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal (2018); ARS 17: Hello world!, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, Helsinki (2017–18); Jon Rafman / Stan Vanderbeek, Sprüth Magers, Los Angeles (2017); Manifesta 11, Zurich (2016);Welcome to the Jungle, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2015);Speculations on Anonymous Materials, Fridericianum, Kassel (2013); NineEyes, Moscow Photobienniale (2012); Screenshots, William Benton Museum of Art, University of Connecticut (2012); From Here On, Les Rencontres de la photographie d’Arles, Arles (2011).
Together with Museo della Figurina, Fondazione Fotografia Modenaand Galleria Civica di Modena are part of FONDAZIONE MODENA ARTI VISIVE, an institution dedicated to the presentation and promotion of contemporary art and visual culture, directed by Diana Baldon.
Jon Rafman, Remember Carthage, 2013, Colour HD video with stereo sound, Runtime: 13’43” Courtesy of the artist
Jon Rafman, Remember Carthage, 2013, Colour HD video with stereo sound, Runtime: 13’43” Courtesy of the artist
"In late October 2017, M WOODS welcomed visitors to the world of Lu Yang, an ambitious solo exhibition comprising three new commissions and a constellation of previous works that include sculpture, video, installation, computer programming, and video games. A leading figure among a young generation of new media artists, Lu Yang’s creative practice often satirizes efforts to demystify human experience through scientific theory, dismantling them with humor and fluency in the language of popular culture. Citing knowledge gleaned from the realms of neurology and biology, her works also reflect an ongoing interest in spirituality as a state of being pursued through different forms of religion and creative expression.
Lu Yang, Electromagnetic Brainology! 4 Deities, 2017
Capturing a breadth of influences from hip hop to Goa trance, punk, gothic, and glam rock street styles, gaming, anime, and the practice of Otaku, Lu Yang’s mesmerizing, multisensory environments reflect the dynamic amorphism of today’s globalized cultural climate and the semi-porous understandings we use to define the current historical moment of China and beyond. Conceived in entirety by the artist, the exhibition is something of a Gesamtkunstwerk combining the neon glitz of an arcade and the ritual of a heretical temple.
Presented on the first floor, Electromagnetic Brainology represents a new direction in Lu’s video work. Unfolding in the ritual-like space of the central hall, the work incorporates motion sensor technology and a soundtrack contributed by acclaimed Japanese producer invisible manners (インビジブル・マナーズ), weaving together popular culture and pan-cultural religious iconography. Stemming from her interest in MikuMikuDance (MMD) and the internet folk culture surrounding it, Lu uses the popular freeware as a readymade to complete the “LikuLikuDance” seen within many of the videos.
Lu Yang, Uterus Man, 2013
The action and aesthetic of gaming recurs throughout the exhibition, from the adventures of Lu’s gender-curious superhero Uterus Man (2013), to the 8-bit nostalgia of Cancer Baby (2014). Affinities to the gaming world are equally present in Wrathful King Kong Core (2011), and a sculptural installation on the second floor inviting viewers to ‘play’ using augmented reality. Emphasis on engagement and a visual vernacular popularized by modern video games form one thread of Lu’s artistic strategy that in the show subvert the normal functions of the museum.
In LuYang Delusional Mandala (2015) and LuYang Delusional Crime and Punishment (2016), relations of violence and domination become a solipsistic theatre revolving around her own likeness. Lu’s interest in deep brain stimulation (DBS), a treatment for tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease, is taken further through the invention of a halo-like, stereotactic surgery device that short-circuits the limbic system and results in religious delusions. For Lu, these investigations into the mechanisms of the mind and spirit, as well as our abilities to visualize them, lie at the heart of identity in the twenty-first century. Regularly featuring in her own films and animations, the artist’s own identity is deconstructed and she is re-incarnated in various works as a giant sculptural kite, a lifelike but genderless, non-binary simulation, and a guardian of the gates to ‘Luyang Hell’.
Collaborating with musicians, actors, and animators, the exhibition culminates in an exorcism, writhing to a soundtrack of post-trance core. As an artist whose playful irreverence and wicked humor constantly question norms of acceptability, Lu’s last gesture raises deep polemical issues about the cathartic role art and art institutions play within society. As the artist’s first exhibition at a non-profit institution in China, and the first solo show by a Chinese artist at M WOODS, Lu Yang’s exhibition brings together many of her best-known works while pointing to new directions within her practice." (M Woods)
LuYang, Cancer Baby, 2014
Born and based in Shanghai, Lu Yang graduated from the China Academy of Art in 2010. Her works have been featured in important solo and group exhibitions at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (Beijing), Centre Pompidou, 56th Venice Biennale 2015 China Pavillion, the Third Istanbul Design Biennial, Liverpool Biennial 2016, Shanghai Biennale 2012, Montreal International Digital Art Biennial 2016, Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon, Momentum (Berlin), Tampa Museum of Art, Fifth Fukuoka Asian Art Triennale, and the NYU Shanghai Art Gallery among others.
LINK: Lu Yang
Fall on Your Sword is a music production, scoring, and audio post company founded by multi-media composer Will Bates. Located in both Williamsburg Brooklyn and Los Angeles, the FOYS 7.1 Studios serve their clients in all aspects of audio post-production. Specializing in music for feature films as well as advertising, FOYS are also creators of interactive artworks. Their pieces have been displayed at galleries and museums around the globe. Their 2015 artwork, Blaze Of Thunder,
puts the viewer in the driving seat of a heart pounding slot car race around a certain Brooklyn apartment. Stepping up to the platform starts the race, hitting the red button triggers a crash. Inspired by the work of the late Tony Scott, this interactive thrill ride aims to fullfill one's NASCAR fantasies and destructive tendencies.
LINK: Fall on Your Sword
Victor Morales, Esperpento, test installation at 3 Legged Dog, 2018
Victor Morales' latest project is titled Esperpento, an immersive three dimensional space inspired by the aesthetic vision of Spanish painter Francisco Goya. Specifically the War Paintings and his famous, Caprichos series,
As Morales writes:
The project is a universe where tragedy, sarcasm, and comedy are portrayed as a deformed and apocalyptic mirror of reality; In this world, circumstance is the source of tragedy, and the grimace produced by this tragedy is what rules its form.
Esperpento is an exploration about the rejection of the different and the dehumanization of the stranger. Why the foreigner (who looks different) is often shunned, despised and criminalized?
This virtual universe will work primarily as an immersive interactive installation and performance its first iteration will take place in the Fall of 2018 at 3 Legged Dog Art and Technology Center in NYC.
Esperpento (a Spanish literary term for “monstrosity”) is a digital performance event - a charged visual performance that allows the viewer to see through a monstrous lens. Rather than using the “monster” to critique societal ills, Esperpento embraces strangeness and deformity in order to challenge conventions of beauty, familiarity, and what is “normal” or “native” to the human condition.
Esperpento is a series of 3D digital events which explores the dehumanization of the stranger. In a vivid sequence of natural and manmade disasters, rendered through a real-time video game engine, victims and perpetrators collide with increasingly interchangeable ethnic, class and cultural markers. These "Esperpento Events" are a digital meditation on the rejection of foreignness, and why we shun those who look (or appear to look) different from the people in the US.
Goya’s War Disasters and Black Paintings are, in substance and form, a template for Esperpento. These paintings are a testament of genuine protest, full of style and piercing opinion, that simultaneously document and comment on reality.
The Latino community and other minorities will be the main focus group for this production. The technology and the delivery of the animations are the major points for connection with these communities, basically promoting technology made by and for Latinos. (Victor Morales)
Esperpento is also a Play! "Two Black Lights and a Red One" written by the great Billy Burns! The show is about the vicissitudes of a Blind Poet "Max Starpower" in a strange ultra violent place called - you guessed - Esperpento. We need your help to make this happen, so we started a crowdfunding campaign, please help us create this piece. For the record, all the money collected is ONLY to pay all collaborators that are working on Esperpento, and if you are a friend of Billy Burns, notice that one of the perks is to bring him to New York from Berlin so he can help directing and polishing the play. Spread the word!
Victor Morales born in Venezuela, received a Law Degree from Universidad Catolica Andres Bello, in Caracas, in 1990. During his time there he was an active member of the University Theater Group, where he directed several plays, including writing and directing Mueca 23, for which he won the New Director’s Prize in the Festival de Teatro Para La Ciudad (Caracas). Based in New York City since 1991, he completed a Master’s degree in Technology Applied to the Arts at New York University’'s Gallatin Division, in 1992. He is a director, performer and designer, whose work includes video animation and design, text, sound design, and movement. Since 2003 he has been obsessed with the art of video game modifications and has implemented different game engines into most of the works he has participated in or created.
Mondo Cane! (2018) is a 20 minute video essay that accompanies Sturtevant/a_m_f_skidrow_01 Finite Infinite, a short video loop portraying a non-player character (NPC) from a computer game, projected on a rotating beamer in the installation space. It was developed by Alan Butler to for the exhibition SITUATIONS/Posthuman at Fotomuseum in Winterthur, Switzerland (07.07.2018–16.09.2018)
The installation builds on Butler’s previous work, Down and Out in Los Santos. There, the artist embarked on a journey through the social landscape of the video game Grand Theft Auto V to document the lives of homeless NPCs in the virtual city of Los Santos. One of the characters he encountered is at the centrepiece of his new work: a homeless NPC that bears a striking resemblance to conceptual artist Sturtevant. The character is transformed into a hybrid, computational entity, half human-looking, yet resembling a dog running endlessly in circles. By directing our gaze to the characters that inhabit the uncanny borders of non/human, the artist challenges the viewer to rethink anthropomorphic representation and consider these digital entities and bots as autonomous creatures that do not subjugate to a human hierarchy.
Alan Butler, Sturtevant/a_m_f_skidrow_01 Finite Infinite, video still, HD-video, 00:09 min. (loop)
LINK: Alan Butler
Damir Inbar's latest work is a music video for Chris Owens' "The Luxury Music Boy". A New York-based artist who graduated from CAlArts, Inbar uses videogame aesthetics in most of his video art projects. In this music video, the artists combines digital depictions of Manhattan from Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto with live-action depictions of "real" cities, e.g. Berlin, Los Angeles and San Francisco) shot using drones, DSLRs and iPhone. More information about Inbar's game-based video art can be found on the Hammer Museum's Graphite blog.
Damin Inbar, Clean the disc with a soft cloth, 209
LINK: Damin Inbar
JUNE 20, 2018/20 GIUGNO 2018
Università IULM (IULM 1)
Via Carlo Bo, 1
Filming: Lorenzo Mosna
In this talk, members of the collective AAA (Merle Leufgen, Gabriel Helfenstein, Troy Duguid, Chloe Langford, Jessica Palmer) will present their work and reflect on their collaborative practices which intent to propose an alternative to the often accepted thinking that the way we live and organize society is the only possible way. The aim of the talk will be to show how games and collaborative exchange in game development can help break the inertia resulting from the perceived lack of possibles disrupting the current status quo - in our everyday lives as well as in the production of art.
Active in Berlin, the AAA Collective comprises artists, designers, and creators from all over the world. Its founding members are Merle Leufgen, a software artist, curator and independent researcher, Gabriel Helfenstein, a French transmedia artist, curator, and writer, Troy Duguid, and Australian artist working with game engines, and Jessica Palmer, a Canadian multimedia artist interested in neuroscience.
LINK: AAA Collective