Playlist: Playing Games, Music, Art curated by Domenico Quaranta (Brescia, Italia) :: December 18, 2009 – May 17, 2010 :: Mediateca Expandida de LABoral Centro de Arte y Creación Industrial, Los Prados, 121, 33394 Gijón – Asturias.
Along the Twentieth Century, music has often been the driving force behind crucial innovations in visual arts, and the starting point for many artists. Without forgetting the role played by music in the development of abstract art, it was mainly during the Sixties that music provided a fertile ground for new approaches, new theories, new art forms, new aesthetics. John Cage was a musician working with artists and engineers. The very first performance (the Untitled Event at Black Mountain College in 1952) was a musical event, such as many Fluxus events during the Sixties. Furthermore, Fluxus adopted music notation for its peculiar “scores”. It was thinking to music that Umberto Eco first introduced the concept of “opera aperta”. And at the very beginning of Video Art lies the manipulation of the electronic signal, first experimented by Nam June Paik in music.
PLAYLIST is an exhibition that wants to explore the role played by music in the adoption and manipulation, since the mid Nineties, of obsolete, digital as well as analogue, technologies: vinyls, old computers, game platforms and alikes. It’s our feeling, on the one hand, that electronic music culture has been of great importance for the development of low-tech, home-based media art; and, on the other hand, that – such as for the early Video Art – the manipulation of the digital stream is mainly grounded in musical research. The core of PLAYLIST will be the exploration of the “8bit movement”, spread out from the manipulation of obsolete game technologies in order to create new instruments to play music. The show will demonstrate that the retrogaming phenomenon in visual arts can be considered an outfit of a pretty musical phenomenon, that in a bunch of years spread out all over the world through festivals and clubs, occasionally influencing mainstream musicians; and that visual and musical research progressed on parallel paths, in the quest for lo-res sounds and aesthetics, synthetic colors and notes. For the first time, retro-gaming will be explored through the lens of musical production and distribution, displaying not only tracks, but instruments, tools, softwares and hardwares, skins and graphics, but also discographies, platforms and communities. Thus, PLAYLIST will serve as a starting point for an archive / collection of materials produced by artists and musicians, and as a relational context where visitors can practice with tools produced by artists, and take part in workshops, lectures, improvised performances. Furthermore, PLAYLIST will try to provide a context for this kind of research, not necessarily game related, selecting seminal projects and artists that helped forging the conceptual frame in which retro-gaming took place.
ARTISTS (SELECTION) Paul B. Davis (UK), Paolo Branca / DJ Visualoop (IT), Jeff Donaldson / Notendo (DE), Dragan Espenschied (DE), Gijs Gieskes (NL), Joey Mariano / Animal Style (US), Raquel Meyers (SP), Don Miller / No-carrier (US), Jeremiah Johnson / Nullsleep (US), Paul Slocum (USA) o Mike Johnston / Mike in Mono (UK), André Gonçalves (PT), Tristan Perich (US), Alexei Shulgin (RU) y Gebhard Sengmüller (AT).