San Diego, Jan. 21, 2009 -- Several University of California faculty who see and make art through the prism of play in computer gaming are represented in a new-media art exhibition at the University of California, San Diego.
The show Playing the World(s) opens to the public on Friday, January 23 in the gallery@calit2, part of the UC San Diego division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2). The launch coincides with an artist talk and reception the same day, from 5-8 p.m.
The exhibition will run through Friday, March 13, 2009. It is part of a wider series, Scalable Relations, which is showcasing the new-media art works of UC faculty. The exhibitions are being staged on different UC campuses in the first quarter of 2009, organized by the UC Digital Arts Research Network (DARnet). In addition to the gallery@calit2, other venues are at UC Irvine, UCLA and UC Santa Barbara.
Playing the World(s) brings under one roof three new-media installations that expand the usually confined simulated world of a game to the real world. The projects in the San Diego exhibition — Robert Nideffer's WTF?!, Antoinette LaFarge's and Robert Allen's Playing the Rapture (Point of View), and Gregory Niemeyer's CO2 Playground — either use paradigms of gaming and play for understanding phenomena and concepts that shape the physical world, or they incorporate real-world concepts that are rarely encountered within a commercial game. Nideffer and LaFarge are academic participants in the UC Irvine division of Calit2.
Robert Nideffer is a professor at UC Irvine where he is affiliated with the UC Irvine division of Calit2. His work, WTF?!, in collaboration with Alex Szeto, is the most overtly game based of the three installations on display in the gallery@calit2. WTF?! references the aesthetics of the medieval game world and quest from the popular massively multiplayer online role-playing game, World of Warcraft (WoW). But Nideffer’s WTF?! departs from WoW’s underlying assumptions and introduces characters and concepts of the historical 'real' world, including Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein and feminist theologian Mary Daly. The work frames quests in a way that subtly unveils and questions some of the assumptions of its commercial counterpart.
The installation Playing the Rapture (Point of View) is based on an original performance by Antoinette LaFarge and Robert Allen, which premiered at the Baltimore Theatre Project last March. LaFarge is an Associate Professor of Digital Media at UC Irvine, and she has created several mixed-media works with director Robert Allen. Playing the Rapture project uses gaming concepts to explore the American evangelical belief in the Rapture—a moment when true Christians will leave the earth while the rest of humankind undergoes trials and suffering. The installation combines monitors showing the players in excerpts from the performance as well as projections of machinima videos—movies shot within an actual computer game unfolding in a post-Rapture world.
“Engaging with subjects that range from role-play in a fantasy society to the rules of religious beliefs and the monitoring of the environment, the projects in the exhibition investigate relationships between game worlds and the actual physical, cultural, and social environment that we inhabit,” said curator Christiane Paul. “Using gaming as a formal and narrative framework, the artworks in Playing the World(s) reveal how we perform our lives within a rule set of complex relationships.”
The gallery@calit2 is located on the first floor of Atkinson Hall, the UC San Diego headquarters of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2).
Artist Discussion and Reception
Scalable Relations - Playing the World(s)
Friday, January 23, 2009
Artist Discussion: 5-6pm Calit2 Auditorium, Atkinson Hall, UC San Diego
Opening Reception: Friday, January 23, 6-8pm, First Floor, Atkinson Hall, UC San Diego
Scalable Relations - Playing the World(s)
Friday, January 23 – Friday, March 13, 2009
Monday-Friday 11am - 5pm
[Closed in observance of President’s Day, February 16]
First Floor, Atkinson Hall
University of California, San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093
Map & Directions: http://atkinsonhall.calit2.net/directions/
gallery @ calit2
Doug Ramsey, 858-822-5825, firstname.lastname@example.org