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|M E T A B O L I C S # 3|
Thursday, 8th of March 2001, 8 pm
Feat: Claus Pias (Media Scientist/Weimar) and JODI (Net Artists/Barcelona)
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With the introduction of Atari's Video Game Console "PONG" 1972, a broader audience got access to the computer as entertainement device. Since then, the genre of computer games has developed remarkably, commercially as well as culturally. Today, already more money is earned in the computer game industry than in the movie business. Despite that, critical reflection on the computer game is reduced, apart from its service orientated version in game magazines, basically on problematisations of their contents, mainly under educational, at most under popcultural aspects.
Beyond a mere analysis of their plots, and beyond concerned lamentations about their violence glorifying aesthetics, METABOLICS/STOFFWECHSEL#3 tries to seek out the methods and mechanisms of those games, which human beings play with the computer, or the computer plays with human beings. In what way differ computer games from traditional forms of games on the one side, in what way from other programs on the other?
|In his media historical analysis of computer games, Claus Pias attempts to explain the relationship between computers, games and worlds. For him, the computer, as a machine programming human beings, can be placed in a series of historical operating systems, from the greek alphabet to the standards of labour science. Pias examines the effects of those codes, whose hiding behind user friendly interfaces actually enables to use computers as a device for playing. Accoring to this, the figure of the player appears only in the gaps that hard- and software allow, and thus itself becomes a function of the program demanding its outputs. In this sense, computers bear little likeness to traditional forms of games and can no longer be described in terms of play. On the contrary, they correspond to a "economy of optimization" of human movements that can be seen at work on an assembly line as well as in surfing the internet.|
|The artist group JODI may well be considered being the most famous and exiting internet artists. Anyway, nobody should expect that the duch-belgian duo consisting of Joan Heemskerk and Dirk Paesmans is giving you an easy game. When the renowned Webby Award was given to JODI 1999 in San Francisco, the two threw a "Ugly commercial, son of the bitches" into the stunning audience and left. So better be prepared for everything, as in their work JODI look behind the user interfaces and deconstruct their modes of presentation. JODI cultivate program errors, bring HTML-Code on the surface, thus iritating usual habits of perceiving computers. "OSS", one of their legendary projects, is simulating a defective operating system in such a irritating way that their US-based provider deleted JODI's account, thinking their Website would cause his browser to crash. When the source code of the 3D-shooters "Quake 1" and "Castle Wolfenstein" was published, JODI build their own version out of it. Freed from its martial aesthetics and content, the game thereafter consists only of gray, black and white planes and the source code. In such a reconstruction of the code, the way of interacting with the game which is also at work in the individual enhancement of commercial games in the culture of creating patches and even in cheating, a more creative approach towards software can be seen, the only one maybe that is worth being called "playing".|