Space Invaders: Art and the Video Game Environment

18 Dec 2009 – 21 Feb 2010

Regular hours

11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00

Save Event: Space Invaders: Art and the Video Game Environment

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Liverpool, United Kingdom

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FACT launches a season of gaming with Space Invaders, a group exhibition that brings art and gaming cultures together. From retro text-based role-playing games, to the detailed city maps found in the latest Grand Theft Auto, Space Invaders draws on these sources of artistic inspiration and explores the increasingly blurred boundaries between video-game spaces and real spaces. Fans of the online game Counter-Strike can play with a modified version in Riley Harmon's live sculptural installation, What It Is Without the Hand That Wields It. With every death in the game, the piece dispenses a blood-like liquid onto the wall — a physical manifestation of the game's violent action. Meanwhile, art enthusiasts will relish Bill Viola's return to FACT with The Night Journey, the pioneering video artist's first foray into the gaming format. The Night Journey is a contemplative and experimental work weaving the gamer through a poetic landscape that mirrors their spiritual journey towards enlightenment. The piece uses custom 3D post-processing techniques that stretch the boundaries of the gaming experience. Blast Theory's Rider Spoke Liverpool takes gamers and audiences away from the screen and into the city. A specially-commissioned local version invites participants to take to the streets on bicycles equipped with a handheld computer. Using wi-fi hotspots, cyclists listen to questions and record answers in a new twist on hide and seek that builds Alongside the playable games are video installations that reflect on game politics and culture. COSPlayer, a video by Cao Fei — one of China's most acclaimed young artists — unearths an East Asian subculture of video game role-playing in real life. Jeremy Bailey's TerraForma Video Dance Party, Ludic Society's Ready Played and Ubermorgen's Chinese Gold are also included - the latter a study of the World of Warcraft sweatshops staffed by Chinese workers repetitively gathering game points to sell to Western players, in real currency. Elsewhere, visitors will find an array of interactive experiences, with artist-made games that push the limits of the game environment. Julian Oliver's LevelHead is a spatial memory game that uses a series of square cubes as its controller, while Yuichiro Katsumoto's Amagatana ignites the imagination by turning an umbrella into a playful sword. Anita Fontaine and Michael Pelletier's CuteXDoom II is an Unreal Tournament modification that turns the scary into super-cute, while a new commission by Mark Essen highlights the role of the indie game developer in the age of blockbuster games releases. These works exist along specially-curated commercial games that explore the computer game environment in new ways. With FACT's Atrium taken over by a number of retro games cabinets, a giant Nintendo controller and an installation by Michael Johannson that plays on the ubiquitous Tetris Syndrome — seeing Tetris blocks in everyday objects — FACT embraces computer games throughout the winter season!


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