Video games and art: two must-see exhibitions

Cory Archangel at The Barbican, plus a fascinating online study of gaming semiotics.

Once in a while we like to inform you of art events with a video gaming slant – and two have dropped into my inbox this week. First up, Brooklyn-based digital artist Cory Archangel has an exhibition at The Barbican’s Curve gallery from February 10 until May 22. Entitled Beat The Champ, the installation features a series of monitors showing various bowling games, from the earliest virtual version of the sport on the Atari 2600 to modern iterations on current consoles. The machines playing the games are also being exhibited, each of which has been hacked by Cory to endlessly play the games. I’ve written about Archangel’s work several times on the Gamesblog, and interviewed him while he was curating an exhbition in London. He’s best know for his hacked game installations, including Super Mario Clouds, which features the popular platformer with all the visuals removed apart from the clouds, and I Shot Andy Warhol, a version of the old lightgun game Hogan’s Alley, with famous icons replacing the standard targets. His work is often about changing the contexts and challenging the semiotics of game design and game meaning – but the visual impact of all these games flickering away along the Barbican’s walls will be worth catching in its own right.

Similarly, you can now also visit the online exhibition, The Semiotics of Video Games. The site collates various videos and digital images that analyse how games impart meaning through graphics and icons. There’s some fascinating stuff in here, including another interesting Super Mario work, this time showing one level from the point of view of two Gombas. Some of the prose is rather academic, but the ideas about the nature of empathy, assocation and immersion in video game worlds are worth thinking over and arguing with.


Game culture

Keith Stuart © Guardian News & Media Limited 2011 | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

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