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By Rhizome

A new commissioned online work by André Sier for Lisboa 20 Arte Contemporânea's LX 2.0 Project, Space Race #1 takes the deceptively familiar look of a vintage computer game. Peppering black-and-white arrays of flat polygons are triangular spacecraft and blocky characters, racing to amass enough green fuel reserves to power their spaceships to the next planet - and the next level. As protagonists skitter back and forth, between fuel and ship, the camera jerkily tracks from one vignette to the next, at times running right through polygonal landscapes and forms and reminding one of the tenuous mesh of this geometric world. Yet the semblance of interactivity is just that: visitors are relegated to a marginal position, from which to observe a narrative of exploration whose end always circles back upon its beginning, as level succeeds level, seemingly without end. By stripping the gaming genre of its teleological content, Sier's project shifts focus to the structural elements of its imaginary universes. And while the rudimentary 3D aesthetic of the product might lead us to dismiss it as harmless fun, there's an argument to be made for the way its tale of compulsive fuel accumulation and frontierism echoes some of our own present-day master narratives. - Tyler Coburn

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