Computergames by artists

11 October – 30 November

Former Reserveteillagerat Phoenix West

Dortmund , Germany

curator < Tilman Baumgärtel

The ”Atari 2600” was one of the most successful game consoles of all times. The system, launched in 1977, was one of the first game machines for which cartridges with new games were constantly being produced. Twenty-five million units are believed to have been sold up to 1991. Arcangel Constantini hacked the antiquated gaming device, that you can buy cheap today on the flea market, and converted it into an ”audio-visual noise pattern generator keyboard” (Constantini). The artist thus combined several elements of the game console in order to allow the user to generate chaotically distorted images at the push of a button; these images have about as much to do with the original computer gaming interface as the sound of a guitar string has to do with one of Jimi Hendrix’s feedback solos. This deconstruction of ”visual raw material” is not only part of a long, modernist tradition of alienating and modifying found images, but also alludes to one of the most seminal works of media art: Nam June Paik’s ”Videosynthesizer” (1972). While Paik had to hire the engineer Shuya Abe to develop a machine that allowed you to manipulate moving images in real time, ”Atari Noise” reflects a media culture in which the necessary hardware is available as electronic scrap.

(Tilman Baumgärtel)