November 29, 2012
I don’t have anything particularly insightful to add to the news that MoMA has acquired 14 video games for its permanent collection, apart from a hearty “hurrah!” and slight confusion about what it means for a museum to “acquire” a video game. Luckily, MoMA’s Paola Antonelli comes to the rescue on that last front, writing a detailed post on the museum’s blog:

In order to be able to preserve the games, we should always try to acquire the source code in the language in which it was written, so as to be able to translate it in the future, should the original technology become obsolete. 

Then of course there’s the issue of curating the backend of the game (the part that arguably contains the creators’ true creativity), the code. Writes Antonelli:

We request any corroborating technical documentation, and possibly an annotated report of the code by the original designer or programmer. Writing code is a creative and personal process. Interviewing the designers at the time of acquisition and asking for comments and notes on their work makes preservation and future emulation easier.

Then there are the rights issues, which can only be legion. So it’s not perhaps as simple a slamdunk as you might have imagined, and hats off to MoMA for recognizing the artistry and genius of the likes of Pac-Man, Katamari Damacy, and The Sims (with Pong, Asteroids and Donkey Kong still to come.)
[Pac-man image via Flickr/methodshop.com.]

I don’t have anything particularly insightful to add to the news that MoMA has acquired 14 video games for its permanent collection, apart from a hearty “hurrah!” and slight confusion about what it means for a museum to “acquire” a video game. Luckily, MoMA’s Paola Antonelli comes to the rescue on that last front, writing a detailed post on the museum’s blog:

In order to be able to preserve the games, we should always try to acquire the source code in the language in which it was written, so as to be able to translate it in the future, should the original technology become obsolete.

Then of course there’s the issue of curating the backend of the game (the part that arguably contains the creators’ true creativity), the code. Writes Antonelli:

We request any corroborating technical documentation, and possibly an annotated report of the code by the original designer or programmer. Writing code is a creative and personal process. Interviewing the designers at the time of acquisition and asking for comments and notes on their work makes preservation and future emulation easier.

Then there are the rights issues, which can only be legion. So it’s not perhaps as simple a slamdunk as you might have imagined, and hats off to MoMA for recognizing the artistry and genius of the likes of Pac-Man, Katamari Damacy, and The Sims (with Pong, Asteroids and Donkey Kong still to come.)

[Pac-man image via Flickr/methodshop.com.]

October 9, 2012
"Artists are the interface between revolutions and life. Artists bring in the human factor to revolutions that get their start in technology and science. We’re used to thinking that progress comes from the technology, science, and financial sectors. Culture brings, in truth, a slower, more sustainable, more holistic and trustworthy kind of progress."

Newly minted director of R&D (and former senior curator of architecture and design) at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Paola Antonelli muses in an interview with Architect magazine about what she’ll be getting up to in her new role. I love this insight above… As my colleague Larry Keeley likes to say, actively trying to change culture is like trying to stick a pin in a cloud, but it certainly happens, and being conscious about how such changes are being driven is a noble endeavor.

[Story via Allison Arieff.]

June 19, 2012

With great anticipation, I went to see Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present at the weekend; the documentary didn’t let me down. The film itself is arguably more hagiography than critical analysis, but I loved to see how playful and charming Abramovic is in her own life. You wouldn’t necessarily imagine that the woman who literally yelled herself hoarse or who ran into walls, repeatedly, would be all that much fun to be around. This film shows how all appearances can be deceptive, and helps the audience to understand the true bravery and courage she exhibited as she put herself on show at her wonderful 2010 MOMA retrospective, The Artist is Present. I remember spending much time at this show and worrying about her increasingly waxy, unhealthy appearance as the months went by. As this film shows, she really was pushing herself to the limits of human endurance, and for that we should all be both humbled and grateful.

April 16, 2011

Shantell Martin describes her work as “sketch projection” or “live club illustration.” Essentially it involves her, a Wacom tablet, some kind of screen or backdrop and a live audience. The video here was shot at the Family Festival at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 2010. What’s so lovely about the work is the intensity of the entirely fleeting relationship as Martin chooses to respond to particular participants… and they respond right back. “You’re hyperaware,” she explains. “Then at the end of the show, I shut my computer and it’s gone. It’s finished.” It’s a timely reminder to live in the moment.