Friday, 4 March 2011

'Beat the Champ' and 'The Quintet of the Unseen'


If you're in London this weekend and you got some time to kill, spend it in the Barbican. Cory Archangel's twisted medley of archaic video games 'Beat the Champ' is a massive hit. If you don't have time to kill - kill what ever it is you were going to do and go. 

Like a modern day Michelangelo, Cory uses the well-developed craft of the 'hack-ster' to paint his beautifully subverted masterpiece. Once your in there experiencing the hypnotic pixels of the virtual bowling ally, you will have forgotten all about the spare change it took to get there.

This show will re-evoke the raging frustration that you hadn't experienced since the coaxial cable split on your Mega-drive.

8.5 /10
What better to accompany the harsh 16-bit drones and 'slightly-not-so technical but still couldn't do it myself' wizardry of the Archangel show, than this ultra silent HD video portrait by another of my idols, Bill Viola.

These shows resemble face each other on opposite ends of the digital art spectrum. Both test the fabric of contemporary society and the unique language it presents, just completely differently.

Conclusion - you don't have to be a 1000 year old painter to evoke pure awe-inspiring emotion. Granted, ' The Quintet of the Unseen' is a little dated now and seems a little rough round the edges, but you still get an affect from a language suitable for higher purpose (you can't argue with his recent commission for St. Paul's). Don't cast this off as 'unreal' or 'irrelevant to the physical world' accept its affects and be emotionally moved!
8/10

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