Control Freaks

Control (or the illusion thereof) defines the relationship between the gamer and the game. This power dynamic is key in 'Controller: Artists Crack the Game Code,' an art arcade that opens at Toronto's InterAccess Electronic Media Arts Centre on February 24. By manipulating code and elements in video games, five artists--Myfanwy Ashmore, Tasman Richardson, Anita Fontaine + Yumi-co, Prize Budget for Boys, and RSG--subvert game designers' god-like status in the virtual worlds they create. Myfanway Ashmore's 'Mario Trilogy' offers three versions of the original Super Mario Brothers game, all designed around the inevitability of Mario's death. Anita Fontaine + Yumi-co's 'CuteXdoom' implicates coders and gamers alike as slaves to the consumerism underlying our cultural 'addiction to cuteness.' And Tasman Richardson's 'Apollo Shrapnel: Part 01' video (abstract canvases created from captures of Atari game manipulations) signals complete appropriation of media control by the artist. - Peggy MacKinnon