Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Reflecting on art games

If you follow Pippin Barr’s games (and we do) you’ll be interested in this post on his web site. Pippin had an exhibition of prints made from screen grabs of his games late last year. They looked pretty sharp when we saw them at Andrew Baker’s Gallery in Brisbane but for an artist who’d chosen interactivity as his platform, the static nature of the prints obviously left him uneasy. Pippin takes up the story -

“When I went to the exhibition in December 2014 I had the very odd experience of confronting a game (such as the Prometheus scene) remediated as a screenshot remediated as an artwork framed and behind glass on a wall. That was interesting to me because it’s such a strange direction for a game to go in: from movement to stillness, from interactivity to passivity, from jokey meme to official art-on-wall, etc. I actually had a bit of difficulty thinking about the exhibition and my relationship to it, frankly, because of that odd remediation going on. (Although of course the games themselves were on display too.)

So an obvious way to react to this, in my book at least, was to re-remediate the game-as-painting back into a game. I’d taken photographs of the various prints in the show and chose to turn the photo of the Prometheus scene back into the Prometheus scene game. Such that it goes from static photograph of framed print back over to playable game. To complete the strange feeling of standing in front of an “art” I slaved over getting a webcam “reflection” of the player in the “glass” covering the game. So you end up with an attempt to meld the two ideas – it’s still framed and on a wall and “art”, but it’s also a weird playable game.”

And so it is. You look at the image of the print and via the game you are reflected through your computer’s camera and are able to play the game in the print (this is where in the old days you would put a couple of exclamation marks). Read more here and if you want to try it out go here.