By Monica Torres
Game Show is the current exhibition at Florida International University’s – College of Architecture + The Arts’ new Miami Beach Urban Studios (MBUS) where games serve as metaphors for human interactions and well, just the absurdities of life itself.
Miami Beach Urban Studios (MBUS) is part of FIU’s College of Architecture + The Arts. MBUS provides courses, studio space for architecture and fine arts students, performance space for music and theatre students, and gallery/exhibition space for use by the entire college.
The MFA LAB at MBUS serves as a dynamic space where first-year MFA students not only show work they have already produced but also literally map out influences (books, artworks, popular culture, personal history, anecdotes, music, etc.) that gave rise to the ‘finished’ product.
Game Show showcases the work of nine nationally and internationally exhibiting artists and/or musicians that have been inspired by or have incorporated elements of board games, video games, puzzles, or sports into their artwork.
The exhibition’s fun displays include Aaron Hughes’ “Painted Pinball.” In the “Person Pinball” video below, passing pedestrians become pinball play. This video was previously showcased at the 2011 Animation Block Party Film Festival in New York City.
Game Show was curated by FIU visiting Professor Dustin London. In short, Game Show explores gaming in contemporary art through the works of featured artists: Mariah Dekkenga, Jeremy Couillard, Russell Maltz, Michael Namkung, Michael Perrone, Jacob Sudol, and Brian Zegeer.
“Much of the work repurposes the parameters or structures of a game to call attention to process rather than objective, or redefines the objective entirely. Though a sense of play runs throughout the exhibition, some pieces use the traditionally light-hearted nature of gaming as a foil for aesthetic or even existential concerns, using gaming as a metaphor for the complexities and absurdities of life itself.”
Michael Namkung is showcasing “A Burning Sensation” based on “Mirror Me,” a video originally exhibited as a participatory installation at the Root Division Gallery. For “Mirror Me,” Game Show featured artist, Micheal Namkung, documented a collaborative wall sit done with Jody Dozono. The two artists taped two canvases to opposing walls of a racquetball court and faced each other.
“Both of us had large chunks of charcoal, she drew as I attempted to follow her movements as closely as possible. At times, our movements were almost simultaneous, as I learned to predict her repetitive motions. At others, I struggled just to keep up.”
Similarly, at the Game Show Opening Reception visitors/participants were given the following instructions:
- Sit against the pad of paper with your legs forming a 90-degree angle.
- Sit up straight and face forward (don’t look back at the paper).
- You will feel a burning sensation in your quadriceps that will gradually increase in intensity.
- Draw as long as possible.
Here are some photos of the action taken from the Miami Beach Urban Studios Gallery‘s Facebook:
The Game Show exhibition also hosted two nights of performances and lectures at MBUS, including an electronic music performance by FIU Assistant Professor of Composition and Director of Music Technology Jacob Sudol and his FIU Laptop and Electro-Acoustic (FLEA) Ensemble and an aerobic drawing performance incorporating audience participation by FIU Assistant Professor of Drawing Michael Namkung. Unfortunately, we’ve already missed out on those, but it’s not too late to check out the exhibit!
Leaving you with this dope video, “Black Hole Memory,” by one of the Game Show featured artist, Jeremy Couillard. This video has been in the works since May 2012 and will premiere at Louis B James Gallery in NYC on April 21st along with an installation built around it.