Loose Lips Sink Ships and Peaceable Kingdom came out of a commission from The Toronto Animated Image Society’s Hello Amiga project in 2012. I was interested in how aestheticized the anxieties of the 80’s Cold War era now appeared but at the same time I was convinced the the Cold War is still very much in geopolitical play.
Many of the animations I created were based on the dithering patterns from Amiga paint programs and re-animated sprite sheets of 1980’s war games, while newer animated gif collages, such as the Putin PR sequence, were altered to appear as if they were created on old Trinitron screens. LM
– Website produced for the exhibition “Breaking and Entering: Art and the Video Game”, held at Pace Wildenstein, New York (December 10, 2005 – January 28, 2006)
I remember making this web page in the offices of Pace Wildenstein with Cory (Arcangel), Ben (Jones), and Jessica (Ciocci) all physically present. This was a rare meeting of all of the heads in person as Cory was living in NYC, I was living in Pittsburgh, and Jessica and Ben were living in Western Massachusetts. We probably made the page and uploaded it to our server space within an hour.
The page is typical of the other web works we were making at the time, except that instead of promoting one of our tours, books, bands, imaginary bands, imaginary books, or imaginary tours this page promoted an art show about video games at a blue chip art gallery. So there is a kind of weird disconnect between form and content which is perhaps interesting and unsettling.
The artists we listed does not match the actual list of artists in the show at Pace Wildenstein. For instance, Leonardo da Vinci was not in the art show, nor were any of the teenage mutant ninja turtles. The list of artists does however match the other tech/video game and net-art people we were friends with, were collaborating with, or were inspired by at the time.
The images were probably found by a very cursory Google Image search, perhaps using a search term such as “playing video games”. I’m sure some of the other images were pulled from our ever-expanding treasure trove of “found” images we had been collecting on our hard drives since day zero. Ben, I’m pretty sure made the animated gif background which was probably created using sprites from the all sprite-based animation he was working on for the show at Pace.
I also remember having an intense stomach illness which left me bedridden at Cory’s apartment for the first two days of installing this art show, which may or may not have had anything to do with the fact that I was 27 and it was the first two days of installing art at a big scary gallery.
Looking back on it, this site kind of looks like it was made by an 8 year old who just ate too much candy and was trying desperately to finish their “make a website about your interests” assignment for school. I think we were interested in the 8-year-old mind space because it is a mind space that judges the world differently. There is some parallel between the 8-year-old mind and the utopian vision of a video game hacker that perhaps we were trying to get at. In the exhibition catalogue, Ben is quoted saying: “ Remember when you were little and you just accepted things for what they really were?” I think you can get at some truth of whatever moment you are living in by being non-judgmental, or at least by looking at things from a perspective that you are not supposed to look from. Our version of this usually seemed to have a sense of humor or a lightness in the approach, which I think was much needed during the tech-art scene at the time . . . perhaps now the opposite is true. Maybe now there are too many trolls and not enough “sincerity”. Who can say . . . Jacob Ciocci
– A digital collection of computer viruses.
Cyberzoo is presented as a virtual zoo “where it is possible to experience the wildest expressions of artificial life in the security of your own computer”. The piece operates on two main ideas: to place the visitor in the blurred limits that separate the natural of the artificial, and to paradoxically apply the logic of biology or ecology to these new surroundings. But mainly, Cyberzoo tackles the idea that the limits that appear to us at the present time as harder to define, are the limits between the human being and the machine. Bounds disappear as we are continuously feeding artificial intelligence systems, interacting with mechanical or non-human speeches, and playing an ever-changing but never-chosen role within the global network in our everyday life. GR
A Tribute to Heather (2013)
Commissioned by the Museum of the Moving Image, A Tribute to Heather (2013) consists of ten new entries in Evan Roth’s ongoing series, One Gif Compositions. For these works, he embeds a single animated GIF in a website hundreds of times to produce a rich tapestry of color and motion. The URL of each composition serves as its title, describing the repeated animation and the background color. Because file load times vary every time, a One Gif Composition website is accessed, each viewing is unique.
The animations in A Tribute to Heather were sourced from Heathers Animations, a sprawling hand-coded archive of 90s-era animated gifs and background images operated by its elusive namesake, Heather. Founded in 1999, the site maintains the ethos of the early web, eschewing author attribution and copyright concerns to offer a wandering taxonomy of thousands of downloadable images.
For the Technostalgia Anthology Evan Roth selected blimp-on-deepskyblue.com (2013), collection of Hampus Lindwall.
“It is unexpectedly fun, in other words, to chase after runaway shopping carts with your mouse pointer, as idiotic as that may sound. Or to check a box on a grid, which causes the whole array of checkboxes to shake playfully at you, like a wagging finger or a belly dancer. CLICKISTAN attacks the click with no rhyme or reason, imitating the formlessness of the web. One level is a survey that obnoxiously asks, “How are you going to profit from global warmings?” Killscreenmagazine
CLICKISTAN is donationware, of a sort; it urges you, from time to time, to donate to the annual fund for the Whitney Museum, which commissioned it (pages related to the donation to the fund have been removed from this version of the game). In each level, you click on stuff while chiptunes play. A score at screen bottom is about the only thing that the levels have in common; it increases, somewhat mysteriously, when you click on the right things, whatever they may be. At some point, text appears telling you that the level is “extremely complete,” and you should click to continue. In short, it’s chaotic, there’s really no motivation to play other than to see what comes next and for the basically irrelevant non-thrill of maximizing a pointless score; but visually, it’s cool, and the chiptunes are fun, and it’s at least as much of an enjoyable time waster as most of the stuff we point to. UBERMORGEN
“There is something very repetitive and redundant about it. It’s not very challenging. So what you’re focusing on is really what this act of clicking means.” Christiane Paul, adjunct curator of new media at the Whitney
Thomson & Craighead
– How to play: move by sliding your mouse left and right, right-click to shoot.
Emulation Service courtesy of Rhizome
Trigger-happy is a reworking of the classic arcade computer game Space Invaders, where instead of battling row after row of pixelated alien invaders you must blast your way through passages taken from Michel Foucault’s essay What is an Author (1969)? The game has nine levels and should you complete them all, then you will have traversed an abridged version of the entire text which considers the relationship between author, text, and reader. In this case though the reader is also the player, and, in order to keep going, the text is poetically fragmented as it is destroyed. T&C