Oklahoma Contemporary Celebrates “Open World” Video Game Art Exhibition

Let’s go to the Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center.

The non-profit multidisciplinary arts space hopes to unlock all kinds of achievements with the multiplatform exhibition “Open World: Video Games & Contemporary Art”. notion that video games are an art form.

“This exhibition takes this as an established fact and explores the intersection of technology, design, techniques and tools of video game and contemporary artists. Thus, the works in this exhibition exploit the tools of design and production of video games, they riff on the images and iconography of established video games … or they criticize and comment on video game culture, ”said Oklahoma Contemporary Artistic Director Jeremiah Matthew Davis.

“For anyone interested in video games, you will certainly feel a whiff of nostalgia upon entering. For those more interested in contemporary art, you will also find plenty of in-depth commentary on politics, society, culture. war and peace, economics and human experience. ”

Over 166 million Americans play video games, according to a 2018 Entertainment Software Association survey, and “Open World” highlights the cultural influence of a wide range of popular titles, from “Super Mario Bros “. and “Grand Theft Auto” to “Call of Duty” and “Candy Crush”.

“It attracts a different kind of person to the gallery – people who may not be comfortable with a museum with white walls – and then it gives our regular customers a taste of pop culture and allows them to seeing the world from a completely different path, ”Communications Director Lori Brooks said.

The work of artist Jacolby Satterwhite is on display November 4 at the Oklahoma Contemporary exhibition "Open world" in Oklahoma City.

To celebrate the exhibit, Oklahoma Contemporary is fueling its festivities on the second Saturday in November at GameFest OKC. From 11:00 am to 4:00 pm on Saturday, November 13, gamers of all ages can come in for a custom face painting, “Mortal Kombat” stage combat demos and a live Twitch broadcast with Samantha Blackmon, Founder of “Not Your Mama’s Gamer” podcast, and Miranda Due, a native game developer. Participants will have the chance to play indie video games, search for augmented reality artwork by OKC artist Jaiye Farrell, and visit “Open World,” which is on view until February 21.

Here are seven strengths to look for in “Open World”:

Organized by the Akron Art Museum, the exhibition “Open World: Video Games & Contemporary Art" is on view at the Oklahoma Contemporary Arts Center through February 21.

1. Mysterious squid

An orange version of the 1978 “Space Invaders” squid comes out of a gallery wall, courtesy of French artist Invader. The artist, who keeps his identity a secret, took his pseudonym from the classic game.

“From the 1980s, he thought that institutions, museums and galleries were far too exclusive and that they were anti-democratic institutions. So he decided to introduce art to the people”, Davis said. “He did it in a guerrilla style by taking the squid figure from the game ‘Space Invaders’, making it his icon and then using very cheap materials – like in this case ceramic tiles or Rubik’s Cubes – to create these invaders. And then he placed them all over the place. So if you’ve been to parts of Europe, Paris, LA you will see invaders on buildings everywhere. He didn’t ask for the permission, he did not get a permit, he I just threw them away. ”

2. Women’s “World of Warcraft”

Pennsylvania artist Angela Washko’s video installation shares her experiences while exploring the popular online role-playing game “World of Warcraft”. Despite being a skilled player, she noticed that when other players realized she was female, she was frequently subjected to misogynistic comments.

“She was inspired to create a performance piece in which she records her gameplay inside“ World of Warcraft. ”Rather than acting like you traditionally would, she strives to engage in conversations about feminism. with other players, ”Davis said. “Sometimes they’re baffled and respond in very anti-feminist or sexist language. And other times, they actually strike up a conversation and start having a dialogue.”

Fiber artists Krista Hoefle, who created non-traditional quilts that refer to video game jargon and graphics, and Nathan Vincent, who crocheted replicas of classic Atari and Nintendo controllers, also tackle misconceptions about the genre concerning games.

“There are about 65% of American adults who play video games and, interestingly, with the rise of games on smartphones and devices, the majority of gamers are now women,” said Davis.

3. Go up the interactive “alley”

To create his interactive work “I Shot Andy Warhol”, Cory Arcangel hacked a cartridge for the 1984 Nintendo Entertainment System shooter “Hogan’s Alley”. The artist, who divides his time between New York and Norway, has replaced the gangsters, the targets of the game, with images of legendary pop artist Andy Warhol. He traded innocent passers-by, whom players should avoid skipping, along with the Pope, Colonel Sanders and Flavor Flav.

The other two interactive pieces in the exhibit are the meditative “The Night Journey” by Bill Viola, which is designed to mimic the process of spiritual awakening, and the enormous “Long Walk: Reboot” by Feng Mengbo, which chronicles the 1934 long march of the Chinese Communist forces of Mao Zedong. through a 14 level game featuring characters and backgrounds from “Street Fighter II” and “Super Mario Bros.”

Visitors browse the Oklahoma Contemporary exhibit "Open world" on November 4 in Oklahoma City.

4. “Theft” of humanity

For his “Dataset Diptych” series of prints, Irish artist Alan Butler took photos in “Grand Theft Auto V” using his avatar’s cell phone camera. He documented homeless residents in the fictional game town of Los Santos, which is based on real-life Los Angeles.

“He realized that the characters weren’t playable and you couldn’t even interact with them. You could go up to them, you could talk to them, but you couldn’t really do the things you normally would do. with other characters, which he said highlighted the way society views homeless people, “Davis said.” It’s almost like they’re part of the landscape and not human beings. ”

Butler isn’t the only “Open World” artist to take on the notoriously violent game series: Joan Pamboukes composed her vibrant trio of abstract landscapes while photographing a TV screen while her brothers, friends and students played “Grand Theft. Auto: San Andreas “. and focused on the beautiful background elements.

“She was watching her brothers play this extraordinarily violent game when she was struck by the beauty of the pictures in the game,” Davis said.

5. Explosive series

Swiss artist Ueli Alder tackles realistic wartime violence depicted in games like “Call of Duty” in “Untitled Detonation”, his dramatic and deceptively beautiful collection of eight prints.

“He was particularly fascinated by the repeated explosions that would occur either from an air strike or from a surface-to-surface missile or a grenade,” Davis said. “From a distance they’re bright, they’re colorful, they’re really enchanting in a way. But of course you realize pretty quickly that these are explosions, an act of extraordinary violence., You can see that these are not photographs: they are pixelated renderings from the game. ”

The work of artist Jooyoung Choi is on display on November 4 at the Oklahoma Contemporary exhibition "Open world" in Oklahoma City.  The exhibition presents works of art that refer to a wide range of video games.

6. Practical experience

Scottish artist Joseph Delappe also took inspiration from a wartime first-person shooter to craft his large-scale corrugated plastic sculpture “Taliban Hands”, the centerpiece of the exhibition. He based the sculpture of two hands from images taken from the 2010 game “Medal of Honor”, which is set in the war in Afghanistan. Sales of the game were banned on U.S. military bases because players could choose to play – and kill – as members of the Taliban.

The army said, ‘We can’t do this, it’s psychologically traumatic,’ and the idea interested him. So, he divorced at the hands of the character … who is one of the Taliban fighters. of the game holding a gun, “Davis said.” These are impressive sculptural works, but there is a lot of depth that the artist taps beyond the sculptural forms. ”

7. People as products

New York-based Tabor Robak created the fascinating “Free-to-Play” video installation to address the addictive nature of free “mobile” match-three “games like” Candy Crush “and” Bejeweled “.

“We know that on the Internet, if something is free, we are the product. … You can just watch this for hours and hours. It is not playable; it just spins through this series of images. economy, on the idea that ‘free’ is just a pretext to lure people in so that their data can be acquired and traded for profit, ”Davis said.

“The tradeoff, of course, is that we get something fun and enjoyable, but there are some very sophisticated tools and techniques that these games – and their ads – use to stay focused on them.”

The work of artist Mathew Zefeldt is on display November 4 at the Oklahoma Contemporary exhibition "Open world" in Oklahoma City.

GameFest OKC

When: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on November 13.

Goes with: The exhibition “Open World: Video Games & Contemporary Art”, presented until February 21.

Or: Oklahoma Center for Contemporary Art, 11 NW 11.

Admission: To free.

Information: https://oklahomacontemporary.org.

About Douglas Torres

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