social culture that has been built up around computer games. They also take a quick look at their targets ‹from the outside,› as it were. Instead of dealing with the inner life of the games—the code—and instead of making the superficial into a major theme, they deal with how computer games in the ‹real world› are relocated—whether it be via the elements through which we interact with them, or via the forms used in their construction. They check their interfaces with reality and make us aware how limited our hold on the virtual worlds always is, despite all the technical progress that has been made.
Olaf Val: «swingUp Games» (2001) Olav Val
developed a computer game at minimal expense. He made a simple game using transparent plastic film, bicycle lamps, a small circuit board and a few electrical parts. Val describes his work as follows: «The games are conceived so that they can be easily transported and installed… ‹swingUp Games
› is oriented towards acting as a point of communication with a wide audience.»
Apart from this, they also function as a pedagogical media project: Val holds workshops where young people can build and program their own games and de-mystify how video games
Volker Morawe/Tilman Reiff: «Painstation» (2001)
Creators Volker Morawe
and Tilman Reiff
have even shown their Painstation
on the «Harald Schmidt Show» (a popular evening program on German TV until 2003). Their game is a version of the classic game of «Pong.» Unlike in the original game, if one of the players misses a ball, that player is not punished by having a point being given to his opponent. Instead, punishment comes in the form of direct, physical pain: his hand is tormented by heat, electric shocks or blows from a small whip. Such painful reality comes from a completely abstract, immaterial game, a reality that, for once, confronts the players with real consequences for their actions in virtual space.
SF Invader: «Space Invader» (since 1999)
The French artist hiding behind the pseudonym SF Invader took the computer game title with its entire double meaning literally, and unleashed an invasion of digital art figures into real space. Using tile mosaics, he leaves his mark in public spaces with figures from the classical computer game Space Invaders (1978): he sticks the little attackers from the cosmos on the façades of houses, street signs, and bridges—even the Brooklyn Bridge and