Cool War: Game Art Across the Straits
Curated by Rachel Price and Claudia Taboada
El Fanguito Studio, Cuba, Havana
May 18 - June 18, 2015
I'm pleased to announce that COLL.EO (Colleen Flaherty and I) will be participating in Cool War: Game Art Across the Straits, an exhibition held at El Fanguito Studio in Havana, Cuba between May 18 and June 18, 2015. We are in great company: the quintet includes Rewell Altunaga, Cory Arcangel, Rodolfo Peraza ad Anne Marie Schleiner. Curated by Rachel Price and Claudia Taboada, Cool War features "path-breaking game art since the genre’s emergence".
Below is an excerpt from the show description:
"The December 17, 2014 surprise announcement of the normalization of relations between Cuba and the United States, after some 53 years without diplomatic relations and mutual hostility, has ushered in a new and still incipient era of much hope, excitement, and the possibility to realize with new ease long-frustrated collaborations between US and Cuban artists and scholars. May, 2015 will also see the staging of the XII Havana Biennial. When it was inaugurated in 1984, Havana’s was only the fourth Biennial ever established, and one that shaped many subsequent curatorial projects as well as the globalization of biennials more generally; this year’s iteration promises to be the island’s most-attended Biennial yet, given the new conjuncture and easing of travel restrictions for US citizens.
In light of these changes, Claudia Taboada Churchman, a young Cuban scholar of video game and new media art and curator at Villa Manuela Gallery, Havana, and Rachel Price, an assistant professor of Latin American Literature and Culture at Princeton University, both of whom have published on digital and game art from Cuba, wish to stage a modest exhibition simultaneous with, but parallel to, the Biennial. 1 The exhibition, entitled Cool War: Game Art Across the Straits, will open at El Fanguito Studio, an independent art space in the struggling neighborhood of El Fanguito, Havana.
The exhibition will include select artists from the U.S. and Cuba who have created path-breaking game art since the genre’s emergence. Cool War’s conception owes in part to the historic present moment of renewed relations between two former and abiding Cold War foes. In the context of what some have called the current “détente,” the curators wished to both signal the epochal change, and to remind viewers of the enduring, binary logics of enemy or friend, good or evil, and of the centrality of the military-derived technologies built into the very platforms and frameworks for videogames. In a sense, then, Cuban and U.S. game artists have both been simultaneously playing at lingering Cold and other wars from across the dividing Florida Straits. Yet they have remained trapped by lingering and restrictive policies born of the two nations’ mutual antagonism (limited travel and exchange).
While separated by law, a shared generation of gamers have had a purely gamic relation to one another’s home cities: Havana Strike, for instance, or Grand Theft Auto’s Vice City (Miami).
Yet gaming culture’s global nature also ensures that more is shared by a similar cohort of artists raised on classic games from the 1980s onwards than the interstate rhetoric of enmity suggests. A nostalgia for earlier technologies; an engagement with the unique temporality and peculiar meditation on mortality offered by games—Chris Marker once claimed that videogames alone give us “a second chance”—; an interest in creating “serious games”, outside of a mere logic of winning; and a shared set of raw materials for modding and machinima (namely, the same blockbuster games), are only a few of the characteristics common to game art from both nations. Shared too is the conclusion that the last century’s Cold War themes of surveillance and control remain relevant, albeit updated, for twenty-first century neoliberal multi-party nations as much as for single-party authoritarian states." (Claudia Taboada Churchman & Rachel Price)
In addition to Cool War, between May 26 - June 2, 2015, we will participating in the group show MIRAGE at La Casa De Cultura De Guanabacoa, in Havana.
LINK: COOL WAR