Indie gaming has been the hot topic in the videogame world in 2008, but even the most erudite and well-informed game bloggers have smashed into an impenetrable wall of critical stupefaction when attempting to grapple with the strange and unheralded wonder that is Fruit Mystery, a ultra-low-fi flash challenger created by something named Brett Graham. TIGSource proves speechless, Play This Thing! attempts an intelligent exegesis of its procedural rhetoric, but ends up saying it's a kind of game that "should be put in the dumpster and ignored after use, like disposable diapers," and a commentator at Rock Paper Shotgun simply asks, "What the utter fuck did I just play?" Set to the incisively irritating rhythms of the 80s' worst song, the garishly-colored Fruit Mystery enjoins you to feed a variety of badly-drawn edibles to zoo animals, represented by a marquee procession of stock photographs; each food-plus-animal combination elicits a unique edugame-style tidbit of rude, poorly-spelled nonsense. At the end of this cross-species gastronomic adventure, (spoiler alert!) you are assaulted by Zookeeper Steve. Thanks to his huge resume, which is posted to his site, one would be led to believe that Mr. Graham lives in Australia, where he works as a web designer. He also provides free advice for dog owners, does not like white rice, and may still live with his mum and dad. - Ed Halter
Image: Fruit Mystery (screengrab)
Those three words are the declaration of Manuel Buerger, a young German artist whose practice encompasses graphic design, fine art, theory, and music. Buerger did his graduate studies in Media Art under the direction of pioneering internet artist Olia Lialina and this reveals itself best in the humor Buerger directs at his projects that are often just as goofy as they are subtly, intelligently deconstructive of media culture and its conventions. His Master's thesis was an artist book-cum-manifesto on the cultural and economic imperative towards newness, with the figure of a UFO used to navigate the philosophy of novelty. Buerger followed this project with an A5 fanzine that was, in fact, a critical examination of the role of individuality in the Microsoft software platform. Designed in MS Word, I doc. you will! both celebrates and critiques the rigidity and dominance of this environment, pointing to the strict adherence to publishing protocols written into Word, despite the seeming emphasis on personalization within tools and templates. Predicated on a reading of Deleuze's theories on societies of control, Buerger argues, "The last 25 years have rapidly changed the means of computer aided self-portrayal. 'Individualization' is the product of this development--consumption stresses our uniqueness." That said, a number of Buerger's projects end up focusing on consumer culture, or the fine line between that culture and its production. While net-based experiments like his Nostril Karaoke leave us a bit speechless, his Designerz is a clever, gif-based trope-popping of the archetypal designer-holding-poster portrait, reflected in the style of a permanent zoom into a hall of mirrors. The artist is currently at work on a MIDI-album called "10/10," in which "the idea is to take ten ultra-cool midi-instruments (10 of 128) and dedicate a song to each instrument," and he's an active ...
Part of Rhizome's New Silent Series at the New Museum
Friday, July 11th, 7:30PM
$8 General/ $6 Member
Buy tickets here: http://www.newmuseum.org/events/207
This week, Rhizome's New Silent Series is taking a detour from our regular art - oriented programming to explore another corner of the internet: comedy. For the Technology Readings, a group of New York comedians will perform readings on the joys and pitfalls of a technology-saturated culture. The evening will include:
After its March premiere at the Dark Fair, Wordless Chorus will convene for the second time this Saturday evening at New York's Canada Gallery. Composed by artist Brian Belott and dancer Larissa Velez, the piece involves the participation of over 25 choreographed members howling, singing, and grunting nonsensical verse while wielding props such as chattering teeth and batons. Lounge music is cited as an inspiration for the project, an unsurprising fact considering Belott's love for kitsch and distinct sense of humor, which recalls the media savvy and subversive wit of Michael Smith paired with a Dada-inspired penchant for the absurd. While, evidently, the Wordless Chorus is an event that needs to be seen to be believed, those unable to attend can pick up a limited-edition vinyl record of the ensemble's performance later this year from Grey Ghost Press. - Ceci Moss
In these days of artist surfblogs and folksonomic curating, there's a discernible pattern to the emergence of a net artist. Like a musician strategically leaking her new album to the interweb, net artists drop their new wares on del.icio.us, then sit back to watch the URL's bookmark history grow. (For an example of artists using del.icio.us as a creative platform, check out the tag cloud on veteran net artists JODI's account.) This week it was an illustrator named Math Wrath who caught social bookmarkers' hungry eyes. The artist's site feels like the web presence of The Little Prince, if said prince fell into Rainbo Brite's candy-coated astral world. Operating under a strictly pseudonymous handle, like many in the contemporary surf set, Math Wrath offers a fresh glance at familiar themes and forms ranging from video games to comic books. While Mountains offers an eternally-scrolling horizontal landscape that will feel familiar in shape to anyone experienced in playing auto racing games, the reversal of the traditional Left/Right scrolling direction relieves the viewer of the driver's role, instead making them more like the giddy, if bewildered, child passenger in the back of a station wagon. The work's juxtaposition of razor-sharp, sparkly diamond-dust stalagmites against a glowy sky merges two vocabularies that don't often find a horizon point. This uncanniness is perhaps more obvious in TayZonday in YouTube Limbo, in which a graphically low-level portrait of the Chocolate Rain phenom is adorned with a swirly geometric blindfold. The effect of this co-mingling of bitmaps, sprites, and blingee gifs feels akin to an orchestra dividing into factions, to play in different time signatures, yet somehow staying in tune. The artist is clearly familiar with contemporary memes, as evidenced by pieces like ...
Houston venue Aurora Picture Show's annual multimedia festival Media Archaeology kicks off tonight and will run through the weekend. Dubbed "Live and Televised," the diverse group of artists selected for this year's festival integrate pre-recorded audio or visual media into their live performances. For the opening event, legendary culture jammers Negativland will broadcast a religiously-themed radio show to a blindfolded audience. For a preview, click play below and close your eyes:
After a standout contribution to Postmasters' summer 2007 group show - which caused even tough cookie critic Roberta Smith to advise New York Times readers to "take notice" - Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung returns to the gallery this month with an accomplished solo turn, "Residential Erection," running through May 10th. Spanning the space's two rooms are the artist's recent video contributions to his brand of twenty-first century baroque, Residential Erection (2008) and Gas Zappers (2007), as well as digital prints and monumental pop-up displays, all deriving imagery from Residential Erection. While the pop-ups offer interesting translations of Hung's collage-heavy video practice into the sculptural realm, they ultimately feel secondary to the videos themselves, which interpolate political hubris and prop-like flatness with a greater level of sophistication, evoking theater sets, commercial advertisements, image search refuse and one-on-one combat video games. All of these references (and countless others) make a turn on Hung's digital stage, collectively giving a performance as critical of contemporary American politics as it is symptomatic of the artist as capitalist-schizophrenic par excellence. In one of the choicer scenes from Residential Erection, for example, an infantile Barack Obama suckles from the teat of mega-advocate Oprah Winfrey (in Virgin Mary attire), only to transform into a variation on Ali G's Borat, emblazoned with the logos of Verizon, UBS and a handful of his other corporate campaign sponsors. At another moment, a cadre of conservatives roll out the "Straight Talk Express," led by Republican cheerleader John McCain - replete with tutu - and proceed to erect a chain-link fence, hoard burritos and manufacture "Minutemen Salsa." Hung's garishly Pop take is thus no disguise for our nation's unsavory realities, but rather uses the aesthetics of mass-culture to dispel the sleek, rhetorical surface of American politics and tease out its dirty ...