Art & Technology
Nintendo? Art? Really?
Yes Really. And pretty impressive too. Video games are making quite a splash on the art scene thanks to artists who are trading in the paint for pixels and the brush for the computer mouse.
There are two fascinating exhibitions featuring video games that are worth checking out...one is getting ready to come to a close and another just getting ready to "level up".
Chinese artist Feng Mengbo's installation Long March: Restart, is on exhibition at MoMA PS1 until April 4th. It is a large-scale interactive video-game installation featuring two gargantuan 80 x 20 foot screens that light up a dark room with the familiar glow of television. Viewers can give the game a whirl using a wireless remote control. If the thought of playing Boulder Dash on your Commodore 64 sparks nostalgia and if playing just about anything on Nintendo Wii in 2011 gets your blood racing then Feng Mengbo’s homage to the digital arts will surely take you back in time and spring you straight into the future all at the same time. The screen explodes with Red Army Soldiers racing to fight aliens in street scenes reminiscent of China’s Forbidden City. You've got a few more weeks to check it out, and let me tell you, it is worth it.
It is interesting to note that Mengbo started out as a Political Pop artist, using the more traditional artist tools, a brush and canvas, before evolving into a full-fledged video game developer. What’s more is that he didn’t even play his first video game until he was 19 years old.
Meanwhile, over at the Smithsonian, curators are getting ready to blast the public with an exhibition that opens up in March 2012. The exhibition The Art of Video Games will feature eighty video games chosen from the thousands that have cropped up since the rudimentary beginnings of Atari, Nintendo, SEGA and Intellivision. Audience participation is required. The video games will be chosen by the public, via an online voting process. The Smithsonian is accepting votes over at www.artofvideogames.org where you can select from games that date as far back at the 1970's.
I rushed over to cast my vote, for either Metal Gear or Burger Time, my video game obssessions as a kid. Unfortunately, neither were up for selection, so Super Mario Brothers 3 got my vote. Who knew that all that time I spend smashing bricks for gold coins and squashing mushrooms years ago, would one day help me secure my small place in art history.