Power Pills in Washington Square


Who says new media art lacks theater? Whoever does hasn't seen Pac Manhattan, a project by graduate students in New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program. Transplanting the iconic 1980s game Pac Man from the comfort of consoles, desktops and handhelds to New York City's rough-and-tumble urban grid, Pac Manhattan promises to bridge the gap between the online screen and offline experience; it's a live game on live streets, guided by a control room abuzz with cell phones. As an aesthetic experience, work like this allows those of us who grew up with Pacman to map our nostalgia for the game on real city streets; it's a cross-pollination of retro computing with something tactical but verging on dada. Think of Cory Arcangel hacking four-square. Ever try getting a cab when you're big, round and yellow? - Lewis LaCook