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8 BIT Documentary Premiere at MOMA

Tree Wave in 8 BIT


8 BIT: A Documentary about Art and Videogames
Last night vertexList gallery hosted a semi-private screening of the documentary film 8 BIT, directed by the gallery's proprietor Marcin Ramocki and produced by Justin Strawhand, who did the cinematography. The subject is art and the video game, but several distinct cultures and subcultures overlap: the big three being conceptual art, gamers, and electronic music but within that the demoscene, chiptunes, gameboy music, and miscellaneous odd hacks. It's a PBS-quality collection of talking head interviews (including yours truly wearing a suit jacket and doing his best critic impersonation), interspersed with concert footage, video clips, and a kaleidoscope of stills that underscore and comment on things being said in the interviews.

Highlights include the stage appearances of Tree Wave and Bodenstandig 2000 at Jeffrey Deitch last spring [above photo], Cory Arcangel discoursing on Nintendo cracking and the different types of synthesizer sounds in '80s computers, Alex Galloway's explanation of his Nam Jun Paik-like physical hacks bringing out the inherent flaws and coding errors in console games, footage from Eddo Stern's trippy, deconstructed Vietnam war game landscapes, Joe McKay on Audio Pong and the attempted or presumed realism of early hockey games, and it must be said, my withering putdown of gameboy music followed by Nullsleep telling me to fuck off from the stage at Deitch. A movie with an eternally adolescent pursuit at its core just wouldn't be complete without a good food fight.

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