Game Freak

In his own words, Los Angeles-based artist Eddo Stern 'works on the disputed borderlands between fantasy and reality, exploring the uneasy and otherwise unconscious connections between physical existence and electronic simulation.' The works on view in Stern's second solo show at New York's Postmasters Gallery--which will open September 8--result from his obsessive participation in online games. Recently, the artist immersed himself for one year inside 'World of Warcraft' (the most popular online multi-player game), logging over 2000 hours of play. His new pieces--kinetic shadow sculptures and 3D animations--explore documentary material drawn from web forums, YouTube, midi music, and hand made puppets. For instance, in 'Man, Woman, Dragon,' the 'World of Warcraft' is reduced to its core elements: the cult of Chuck Norris, female elves, and a slain dragon. Also worth mentioning is 'Level sounds like Devil (BabyInChrist vs. His Father, May 2006),' in which a teenager living with an adoptive Christian family tries to overcome the spiritual dilemmas of his involvement in the game by asking, 'Is World of Warcraft Evil?' And Stern's 'Best Flame War Ever (King of Bards vs. Squire Rex, June 2004),' is a recreation of a virtual flame war about degrees of expertise around the well-known 'Everquest' game. Mixing innovative narrative techniques with experimental technology, in this exhibition Stern examines the video gaming culture at 'its paradoxical extremes,' as the galley puts it: 'on one hand, an untenable perversity of life spent slaying an endless stream of virtual monsters; on the other, an ultimate mirroring of the most familiar social dynamics.' - Miguel Amado