A compendium of craft masquerading as art, art masquerading as craft, and craft extending its middle finger.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Condon-Nation


This is probably another example of me stretching the definition of "Extreme Craft" farther than it should go, but what the hay. I read an article in the New York Times Magazine this weekend about "Machinima", which is the practice of making animated movies using video games. Machinima auteurs get some friends together, log into a game together with their X-Boxes, then act out scenarios from the epic to the banal. So far, the most successful Machinimists are Rooster Teeth Productions, with their animated series "Red Vs. Blue". The (howlingly funny) series is nothing more than footsoldiers in a popular video game during their downtime, sitting around and discussing their boring lives.

The article noted that most Machinima is funny and absurdist, but wondered whether Machinima could become art. Strangely enough, they cited New York artist Brody Condon, who, coincidentally, was my roommate for a while in the late 90's when I was living in a warehouse in Gainesville, Florida with a bunch of artists. Brody spent most of his waking life playing Ultima Online and learning to modify popular video games. All of that obsession has paid off--Brody now has a highly original body of work based around video games. The article cited his project "Suicide Solution", which is a 20 minute DVD consisting of Brody committing suicide in 50 popular games. The project that blew me away (no pun intended), though, was 650 Polygon John Carmack v2.0, a 3 1/2 foot sculpture of a 3D rendering of a video game programmer. The sculpture uses 650 3D "polygons", as it would in a video game, and was created using CNC machining. Brody then covered every flat surface with archival decals to complete the effect. Holy Shit! Brody was also in last year's Whitney Biennial!

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