Open World: Video Games & Contemporary Art at Oklahoma Contemporary presents the work of artists who use video games as a catalyst for making art that addresses timely issues, including gun violence, migration and gender equality. The artworks in Open World reference a broad cross section of games, ranging from early text adventure and arcade games to more recent releases such as World of Warcraft and Grand Theft Auto.
In this episode, Artistic Director Jeremiah Matthew Davis shares an overview of the exhibition. Then he highlights works by Tabor Robak, Joan Pamboukes, and Feng Mengbo. The video ends with a tour of the learning gallery for Open World.
Open World’s immersive installation features three interactive artworks. The quiet, introspective game The Night Journey (2007-18), created by Bill Viola in conjunction with the USC Game Innovation Lab, mimics the process of achieving spiritual enlightenment, while Feng Mengbo’s energetic side-scrolling platformer Long March: Restart (2008) loosely recounts a significant event in Chinese history through 8-bit graphics. Retro gamers will enjoy Cory Arcangel’s I Shot Andy Warhol (2002), a modification of the 1984 Nintendo Entertainment System game Hogan’s Alley, which includes appearances by the Pop artist along with Colonel Sanders, Flavor Flav and the pope.
Artists included in the exhibition are: Ueli Alder (Hemberg, Switzerland), Cory Arcangel (New York), Alan Butler (Dublin), JooYoung Choi (Houston), Joseph DeLappe (Dundee, Scotland), Krista Hoefle (South Bend, IN), Invader (Paris), Butt Johnson (New York), Angelo Ray Martínez (South Bend, IN), Michael Menchaca (San Antonio), Feng Mengbo (Beijing), Joan Pamboukes (New York), Oliver Payne (Los Angeles), Tim Portlock (St. Louis), Tabor Robak (New York), Jacolby Satterwhite (New York), Skawennati (Montreal), Suzanne Treister (London), Nathan Vincent (Los Angeles), Bill Viola (Long Beach, CA), Angela Washko (Pittsburgh) and Mathew Zefeldt (Minneapolis).
Open World is organized by the Akron Art Museum and supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Ohio Arts Council, The Tom and Marilyn Merryweather Fund, and National Endowment for the Arts. Oklahoma Contemporary’s exhibition is presented by Velocigo. It is made possible through the generous support of the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation, Delaware Resource Group, Anonymous, CNS Productions, Annie Bohanon, Christian Kanady, George Records, and Glenna and Richard Tanenbaum.