Wellington Performance Arcade – Exhibition Review

By Mayke Blom

18-22nd February 2015

I walk around and through carefully placed sets of shipping containers, each one containing a performed installed artwork. There is a bar and a stage and seating welcoming the passers-by to socialize and pause a moment to peek around corners and engage with a fleeting experience. The 5 day show runs all day and into the hours of the evening until dark.

I feel curious and confronted with contrasting performances that ask me to engage on many different levels. There’s a studio set up like a stage, asking for requests of personal stories, a peep-hole to look at a star-wars psychologist where people open up about their feelings in a closed off room. Or stand in front of a photographer who decides to take your picture whilst she’s nude. Some of the less confronting works are passive observational pieces or are devoid of human interactions altogether. This includes work like time machine where you can zip back and forth to reflect on passers-by of the waterfront. Or Rainscape, a passage from one end of the container to the other, engaging with the textures, sounds, the density of the air and visual effects.

The flurry of diversity and the way it engages as an intervention of an everyday space encourages me to see it as an amusement park of art ‘objects’. Some of the works are out of containers and are moving through the city, really pushing for the manifestation of art to integrate into the spirit of ‘creative Wellington’. I feel like there is a drive for continued engagement as a yearly event, offering an opportunity for artists to reflect in art making of changing presentation landscapes.

I feel like when art tries to engage with a public audience the reactions are limited and the time spent with the works is reduced. The experience/intervention becomes a memory through the media, and identifies within the contained space of the urban and of the shipping container, confining the work dimensional limitations. However of course these limitations are innate unless of course you introduce the use of audiovisual installation, in which the performance arcade successfully integrates the variety of works this year.

I like how this event is transferable to other urban environments, with shipping containers being a globally accessible object. I feel like the independent works could function a bit more successfully on their own as they sometimes blend into one another, perhaps through practical application.

Having been involved as a volunteer in the set-up of the work, I think the Performance arcade has definitely developed since its first production 5 years ago. As an interventionist event it challenges new modes of presentations of performance art and culturally increases accessibility and awareness of performance art practice. As well as strictly performance works, the arcade travels across art disciplines to include AV set ups, installation and object art, interactive and combining media enhancing and questioning the context of installation and performativity space.

The arcade interprets an artwork as a performed space, an interactive experienced environment between a staged spatial or figurative composition. This environment would definitely help me better comprehend audience engagement and interactivity through use of limited space within my own work as a semi-interactive audiovisual installation.


Zero Gamers Exhibition – Website Review

By Mayke Blom

2nd-18th November 2007

Zero Gamers Exhibition was held in 2007 by Curators Corrado Morgana, Marc Garrett and Ruth Catlow in a Gallery called HTTP (Now named Furtherfield), London. This webpage is a documentation archiving an Introduction, exhibition statement, lists of artists/works and Catalogue. It is simple and provides apt descriptions of the works involved and the themes explored around gaming worlds, or the position of the ‘Zero Gamer’.

I feel as though this is a great way to document an Exhibition that has taken place, further giving the viewer access to the artists involved, relationships between the works and contributing to a wider event held in London at the time “The London Games Fringe Festival” taking place in 2007. This festival was discontinued as well as the HTTP gallery, making it a cultural-historical document of a temporal space within an urban environment. Many Galleries have limited lifespans, so continuing to give it a presence on the internet this way rather than just a publication seems fitting, especially in context with the themes it explores.

The themes executed by the artists look at ways to intervene with the experience of the gaming process. It places emphasis on pauses, breaks, loading screens and loss of interactivity that interrupt the state of flow experienced when immersed in a gaming environment, allowing users to reflect or refresh their position from the immersive of the game space. The gallery audience has limited or no direct interaction that would usually come from confronting a game-space, and begin to position themselves as spectators of a video game. Artists have recreated and isolated the game space to sit independent of outcome and user-control by either self-automating the gaming process with AI, or changing the gaming space so that the pause becomes dominant to the gameplay.

As I was browsing through this documentation I would have liked to see more footage, imagery, or links from the artist’s work, however as a pause in itself it limited the distractions while getting a better picture of the artist’s work through the text and limited imagery, and extra multimedia references were easily found otherwise. I like how this webpage isolated the exhibition from other events, simply executed with only four tabs to explore.

I think this is a fun and extended dissemination strategy to document exhibition work. The themes explored are clearly communicated and raise interesting questions around artists intervening and evaluating game spaces. It sits within a larger audience, using familiar popular culture game spaces, something that has begun to integrate itself within the everyday.

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Link: http://www.http.uk.net/zerogamer/exhibition.shtml