Back Buffer: New Arena Paintings

15 Feb 2010 – 2 Mar 2010

Event times

Mon - Fri 9.30am - 4.45pm

Cost of entry


Dundee, United Kingdom


Save Event: Back Buffer: New Arena Paintings

I've seen this

People who have saved this event:



Abstract Expressionist painters have long explored strategies for decoupling gestural habit and tendency in their work by means of automatic or chance-based operations. This exhibition by Berlin based artist Julian Oliver represents a new strategy along this vein, deploying a computer game as canvas, paint and brush. The exhibition represents a major iteration of Oliver's game-based painting system, ioq3aPaint, a project that began in 2003 in Melbourne, Australia as part of a long career exploring artistic applications for computer game technology. ioq3aPaint is itself a modification of the source code of ioquake3, a free-software first person shooter engine used by thousands of gamers and game developers worldwide. Back Buffer: New Arena Paintings deploys four artificial agents, competing for supremacy in a mathematical universe, as painters. Rather than viewing this battle in a highly representative 3D video game style, the scene is instead rendered as a continuously evolving painting, an expressive record of the events in a virtual arena. Here, each agent is purposed as a kind of digital brush; every twitch, lunge and change of state registered immediately as a graphic mark. Using the new application Oliver will set up in the gallery space a large scale gaming environment where the audience can experience this new software, select and take home a high quality print of an automatic painting as it unfolds before them in real time. From the 36 million paintings that will be generated in the duration of the exhibition, a total of just 250 prints will be made available. A number of large generated paintings selected by Oliver from earlier iterations of the battle will be displayed in the gallery. A special numbered edition Back Buffer: New Arena Paintings Linux Live CD will be produced for the exhibition and made available to audiences such that people can simply load a CD into their computers, reboot and enjoy the automatic painting system at home without need to install anything. The CD also contains the full source-code of the project allowing for modification and aesthetic development. The application would also be available to download online.

Art form Toggle


Have you been to this event? What do you think? Join the discussion here!
Remember, you can include links to your instagram pictures and to videos.