Archive for Art

“1000 Avatars,” an installation in Second Life

My Second Life avatar, awestruck by almost a thousand other avatars (click for a closer look).

“Mixed reality” artist Kristine Schomaker—Gracie Kendal in Second Life—is completing work on 1000 Avatars, a tower of larger-than-”life”-size avatars photographed from behind. Get it? Because, in a third-person game like Second Life, you only see your own backside—Kristine’s photos reflect how Second Life users actually come to visualize their virtual selves.

Her statement of intent is here.

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Yoshi Mech (with flip-top nose)

Ten months since the debut of his Mario Mech (which I blogged about at GameSetWatch, here), Donald Kennedy unveils its sequel, the Yoshi Mech.

Maybe the Best Thing about this particular customization is the robot’s flip-top snout, revealing Yoshi’s inner workings—the command center along the back wall was reappropriated from a Playmobil police station, Donald writes, while Little Yoshi’s laptop-console was ganked from a LEGO set.

“I can’t wait to do another,” Donald writes. “I think Luigi may be next.”

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Talkin’ bout Jason Nelson’s art games

Right before I started playing Jason Nelson’s games, I had been reading an article by some neurobiologist about the connection between agoraphobia and “spatial estrangement” and modernity and urbanity. I was in exactly the right mental room already.

Then Mr. Nelson emailed me about his “odd art games,” many of which you can play right in your web browser by visiting Arctic Acre. (In his email, he also suggested that I visit Jason Nelson’s School of Games. You should probably go watch his video lecture series, too, because it is hilarious. There are currently 16 episodes, each only seconds long.)

Maybe ‘odd’ is almost the wrong word for his games: they’re straightforward 2D platformers, with moving and jumping and spatial circumnavigation and an end destination in sight, so that the way to play is immediately discernible even to your mom. But as you run-and-collect, the screens become cluttered with prose noise, taking on the likeness and verve of treated text. Everything feels very inaccessible and obfuscated despite the mechanics’ simplicity.

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Garth Marenghi’s ‘Darkplace’ for Intellivision

For the uninitiated, Garth Marenghi’s Darkplace was produced for Channel 4 in the mid-80s—don’t you correct me—starring the esteemed horror novelist, Marenghi himself, in the main role. As Dr. Dagless, Marenghi will very quickly discover that there is something sinister lurking beneath Darkplace Hospital’s cheery exterior.

OK: the “charming anachronism retro demake cover art” trend is getting tired, but there is something appealing about a show-that-doesn’t-exist spinning off into a game-that-doesn’t-exist. It’s so postmodern! Here, illustrator and noted retro gamer John Calcano accompanies his box art with a pixel-perfect, Intellivision-quality screenshot.

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Before they were stars

How They Died by Aled Lewis

Aled Lewis (earlier, twice) with his latest, “How They Died.”

Update: Recreated in Minecraft.

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KodyKoala’s “Bowser Claus”

Did you know Macy’s department store is already decorated? It is.

So it’s no surprise that custom toy artist Donald Kennedy of KodyKoala (see also, also, and also) is gearing up for the holiday season!

I admit, I like the name Bowser Claus, but I would have been more likely to go with “Koopa Kringle.”

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Jude Buffum slices, dices, quarters, and vivisects your favorite game characters

Jude Buffum is great. His meticulous, deliberate paintings, each one an entire mosaic of pixels, are much too charming to come off as labored. His work for the ongoing cult series curated by Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles—including Crazy 4 Cult, the 3G show, Under the Influence, and Idiot Box, to name a handful—reappropriates pop culture, often recasting familiar faces, places, and subplots as video game battles.

And now for something a little different:

koopasteak

“For the upcoming show Pixel Pushers, sponsored by Scion and curated by Giant Robot,” Buffum writes, “I decided to explore the carnivorous side of the world of video games.” And sure enough, each of Buffum’s 6 macabre works is styled after the beef chart.

Here, Mario’s nemesis Koopa is drawn and divvied into mouthwatering steaks, while Zelda’s Ganon, with his porcine snout, can be turned into bacon, sausage, and ham. The Final Fantasy chocobo is hacked into like a chicken, as is Mario’s stalwart companion Yoshi—he can lay eggs, after all. But best of all, Bloopers and Cheep Cheep fish (they’re the two adversaries from Super Mario Bros’ obnoxious underwater levels) finally get a chilling comeuppance, served with a side of wasabi. So gruesome!

Eric Nakamura of Giant Robot curated the show, which runs from November 13 through December 11 at Scion Installation Gallery LA. The opening reception will be held on the evening of November 13, 7:00-10:00 PST.

Pixel Pushers: An Exploration of 8-Bit Digital Media
November 13 – December 11, 2010
Scion Installation Gallery
3521 Helms Avenue, Culver City 90232
(310) 815-8840

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Noby Noby Panic

San Francisco -based illustrator Vera L. has a whole treasure trove of fanart.

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Mushroom Man

Girl, you thought he was a man. But he was a mushroom.

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Learn to Play’s digital and analog game art

note: Umm, this finished draft is dated 09/14. Sorry I didn’t post it earlier.

Learn to Play, a gallery exhibit slated to open at Cupertino’s Euphrat Museum of Art, promises challenging, playable game art for its attendees. Some of the digital installations will ring familiar: there’s Jonatan Söderström (Cactus); Mark Essen (messhof); Superbrothers; and more.

Chicago’s own Jake Elliott’s playable piece will interest vintage Sierra fans, as it’s essentially Roberta Williams’ Mystery House, transformed into an unhappy, domestic drama.

The Learn to Play exhibit runs proper from October 4 through November 24, but rubberneckers can catch its preview September 17-18.

Learn to Play
Euphrat Museum of Art
De Anza College
21250 Stevens Creek Boulevard
Cupertino, CA 95014-5793

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Pongversation

Here, commercial illustrator Zara Picken conveys a friendly dialogue exchange as a game of Pong. I think the whole thing—the X-Ray blackboard, the starkly simple cutout figures—makes for a striking image. And because I sincerely cannot remember the last time I had a conversation that felt like a ball was zinging back and forth between two like minds, maybe I am also wistful.

I’ve had little luck finding the exact source of the original image, but a peek at Ms. Picken’s portfolio uncovers this charming rendering of a Nintendo controller, commissioned by Who Knows.

Late edit: In semi-related pseudonews, Alex Litel just referred me to Pong-versation the game, which is itself a heteronormative wooing simulation. In it, the blue paddle plings conversation topics at the pink paddle in an effort to pique her interest.

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But can it find the nearest ATM

Look, the only reason I am posting this is, I am forever the woman holding an iPhone in front of her like a dousing rod, trying to figure out how to walk back to her car. (I also get lost in dungeons a lot, in games I mean, so.)

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Final Boss

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It’s raining tetriminos

It’s just kind of a Philadelphia day.

Tri City, by Autumn Society member M.A. Mansur.

The Autumn Society blog currently has a bunch of sneak peeks at next month’s 3G Show, too.

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3G Show at Gallery 1988 LA promises Jude Buffum goodness

Everything Jude Buffum does and makes is inspired, but these 3 pieces for the upcoming 3G Show (Gremlins, Goonies, Ghostbusters) at LA’s Gallery 1988 absolutely take the, uh, the Zuul.

Each of Buffum’s movies-as-8-bit-video-game has already been making the rounds on Tumblr and Reddit today—although, to be fair, I first saw these at .tiff—but they are well worth reposting. So here they are again!

“I wanted to pick a pivotal moment in each film,” Buffum writes, “a scene where one of the characters makes a crucial discovery (or error).”

I especially like the direction Buffum took in his rendering of Gremlins as a 2D platformer: as in the movie, Kate is holding the gremlin threat at bay with flash photography. It’s very Fatal Frame, isn’t it? I would totally play that 8-bit game!

If you happen to be in Los Angeles this fall, I definitely recommend that you pick up some of Buffum’s limited-edition prints and, you know, mail them to me. The exhibit opens September 3rd and runs through the 22nd.

Also, if you happen to be in San Francisco right now, I definitely recommend the current solo show at Gallery 1988 SF, as it is all collage work by the Chicago artist who moonlights as Rotofugi Gallery’s curator. I think I’m obligated by law to mention that.

The 3G Show
Friday, September 3, 7-10pm
Gallery 1988
7020 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles

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