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Computer games by artists

The exhibition Games sought to display the varied range of artistic approaches to the phenomenon and modifications of computer games. Thus, it addressed a subject, which has intensely occupied the young media art scene over the past few years.
All works shown in the exhibition display a constructive rather than simply reactive approach towards the hardware and software of the rapidly expanding computer games industry. The artists utilise the given standards, whilst at the same time deconstructing them with subversive gestures and infusing them with new meanings. They take up a trend which has been established in game culture since the producers have been adding editors for changing the standardised game design according to personal taste.
The range of artistic strategies displayed in the exhibition spanned from the adaptation of the programming code to the manipulation of the hardware through to the ”translation ”of digital scenes and motifs into the language of analogue visual media and objects: like Norbert Bayer aka Mr. Ministeck who transforms icons of computer games into ”Ministeck mosaics”. In addition to games that can be played on computers and consoles the show also encompassed installations, videos, objects and graphics.
From 11 October - 30 November 2003 the Reserveteillager at Phoenix West in Dortmund was host to the exhibition. It was curated by Tilman Baumgärtel, Iris Dressler and Hans D. Christ. The » hartware medien kunst verein was responsible for the concept and presentation.
The exhibition was awarded the Innovation Prize of the Fonds Soziokultur. And the International Association of Art Critics (AICA) recognised it as ”a special exhibition of the year 2003”.

Interviews with the organisers:

Tilman Baumgärtel, curator:

› [Windows Media | 3,06 Min.] | › [Real Media | 3,06 Min.]
Iris Dressler, head of the hartware medien kunst verein:

› [Windows Media | 3,03 Min.] | › [Real Media | 3,03 Min.]

Video tour through the exhibition:

› [Windows Media | 2,20 Min.] | › [Real Media | 2,20 Min.]
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Artistic works in the exhibition:

Yang Zhenzhong
› 922 Rice Corns
A video about a ”competition” between a cock and a hen

Vuk Cosic
› The ASCII Unreal
Modified level of the computer game ”Unreal”

Arcangel Constantini
› Atari-Noise
A modified Atari as an ”audiovisual noise pattern generator keyboard”

Leon Cmielewski und Josephine Starrs
› Bio-Tek Kitchen
A modified video game with virtual kitchen utensils

Mongrel: Richard Pierre-Davis et al.
› BlackLash
Computer role plays with a political message

Lucien Alma, Laurent Hart
› Borderland
A video game with everyday ”heroes”

fuchs-eckermann: Mathias Fuchs und Sylvia Eckermann
› fluID - arena of identities
A multi-user game about identity and its (de)construction

Aurélien Froment
› Fury
A video work in between the genres computer game and action movie
1998 - 2000

Jodi: Joan Hermskeerk, Dirk Paesman
› Jet Set Willy Variations ©1984
A computer game with abstract graphics
2001 - 2002

Margarete Jahrmann, Max Moswitzer
› LinX3D
A multi-user game with a form of integrated surveillance

Mister Ministeck: Norbert Bayer
› Mister Ministeck
The Series Tetris Advanced, Live Forever and TouchScreens
1999 - 2003

Pash Buzari
› modificazione ps1
An installation with a video loop and photographs

Volker Morawe, Tilman Reiff
› PainStation
A video games as a”modern-day duelling artefact”

Tom Betts
› qqq
A modified ”Quake” game and video installation

Jan-Peter E. R. Sonntag
› ratio agendi#3 - PONG
Interactive Teletennis in real space
1999 - 2003

Joan Leandre
› retroYou nostalG
A modified flight simulator

Beate Geissler und Oliver Sann
› Shooter
A video and photo documentation of ”Lan-Events”
2000 - 2001

Jodi: Joan Hermskeerk, Dirk Paesman
A modification and graphic abstraction of ”Wolfenstein 3-D”

SF Invader
› Space Invader
Artistic strategies for occupying public space
Since 1999

Cory Arcangel
› Super Mario Clouds
Graphic reduction in a modified video game

Olaf Val
› SwingUp Games
A computer game as a moveable light installation

Jon Thomson und Alison Craighead
› Triggerhappy
Deconstruction by means of a video game

Anne-Marie Schleiner, Brody Condon und Joan Leandre
› Velvet-Strike
Pacifistic ”Spray paints” for the game ”Counter-Strike”

Lars Zumbansen
› X and Directional Button UP
A video loop about ”Tomb Raider”
2000 - 2002

Exhibition Catalogue:

BAUMGÄRTEL, Tilman (Ed.): Games: Computerspiele von KünstlerInnen / Computer games by artists. Ausstellungskatalog, hartware medien kunst verein, Dortmund 2003. Frankfurt a. M.: Revolver Verlag, 2003.
Book orders: » Revolver

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Lectures and Films about Computer Games and the Moving Image

A lectures and film program computer/game/film was organized for the Games exhibition, in which media and film scientists discussed the relationship between computer games and the moving image. This transmedial approach is based on the idea of computer games as a hybrid medium that has absorbed various elements of other sign systems - from architecture over painting to film. At the same time the aesthetics and logic of computer games influence a growing number of other media.


Karin Bruns

Professor for Media theory und Head of the Institute for Media, University of Artistic and Industrial Design, Linz
”Alice im Wunschmaschinen-Land. Computer-Games zwischen Filmadaption und künstlerischer Subversion” (in German)

› Video [Windows Media | 45 Min.]   
› Video [RealMedia | 45 Min.]  
› Database Entry  

Serjoscha Wiemer

Media Scientist, Frankfurt/Main
”Von Massacio zu Metal Gear Solid. Fragen an die Perspektive in Film und Computerspielen” (in German)

› Video [Windows Media | 52 Min.]   
› Video [RealMedia | 52 Min.]  
› Database Entry  

Andreas Lange

Director of the Computer Game Museum, Berlin
”Homegames. Wie die Computerspiele unsere Wohnzimmer eroberten” (in German)

› Video [Windows Media | 70 Min.]   
› Video [RealMedia | 70 Min.]  
› Database Entry  

Francis Hunger

Artist and Junior Curator, hartware medien kunst verein, Dortmund (since 2005)
”WarGames - Hacker spielen” (in German)

› Video [Windows Media | 63 Min.]   
› Video [RealMedia | 63 Min.]  
› Database Entry  

Krystian Woznicki

Freelance Curator, Berlin
”Sim Cinema wants you” (in German)

› Video [Windows Media | 65 Min.]   
› Video [RealMedia | 65 Min.]  
› Database Entry  

Joan Leandre

Artist and Member of the ”Unknown Frame Observatory” and the ”OVNI Archives”
”Babylon Archives. Documents from the darkest side of the Empire. A media archaeology project 1999 - 2003” (in English)
› Database Entry
The video documentation of this lecture with numerous video and film extracts cannot be published here because of copyright restrictions.

» hartware medien kunst verein recorded the lectures and kindly gave permission to publish them on the platform.
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