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Ben Davis on Tech Art

Cory Arcangel




The normally dynamic Cory Arcangel offers a large, static projection of a video game fighter jet and clouds to complement a primitive "found video game" displayed on a small portable laptop. Titled Bomb Iraq, the game depicts a crudely drawn bomb that the user can bring nearer to an outline of Iraq by pressing the arrow keys. Its inclusion is fine as a document of America's meat-headed relation to the Middle East, but does nothing interesting with it -- except to prove that video games can be used as found objects just like everything else.




Bomb Iraq - Cory Arcangel


Update: Just saw the show and the Arcangel piece is definitely not "static": the clouds scroll and the jet engines shoot bitchin' flames (that move). One good thing about nearly-dead canonical artists is they generate lots of cash to throw at artist projects. Paper Rad's hyperkinetic video was especially effective in a museum-scale installation. And Jon Haddock's real-world tragedy Sims illustrations looked much better in a huge wall-sized grid than the scattering that were in the Whitney's "BitStreams" show. I was feeling kind of bad about the comb-over reference till I got to the gallery and was met at the door by a big security guard, who lurked not so discreetly while I was looking at the show. Stuffy atmosphere or what?

Update 2: Changed "rich, near-dead white guys" to "nearly-dead canonical artists" since this whole videogame art trend, at least as represented at Pace, while arguably youthful, is very white. I'm keeping the krumping reference because it captures the scene-killing absurdity of what Pace tried to do here.

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