Three artists, three nights and one great idea: push the envelope as far as it will go and then push it some more. The 8th Annual Media Archeology Festival, a co-presentation by the Aurora Picture Show and the Mitchell Center for the Arts, is subtitled Rewind - Play - Fast Forward this year, referring to an overall theme of games and game-playing.
This year I wanted to think about how games have influenced media and how they have influenced the art world, says festival curator Mary Magsamen. Karolina Sobecka, Eddo Stern and Robert Thoth, all artists who use repurposed electronic media, each take a turn exploring the issue this week through site-specific performances and installations.
Friday, Houston artist Robert Thoth performs a set of classic hits in the guise of The Chip Tune Crooner. Chip tune (or 8-bit) music uses the technology from vintage computer game systems to compose new music. Projected onto the walls of The Menil Collection, pixel-art videos will accompany and illustrate the songs. Before and after Thoths set, the audience can play video games from a range of systems, including an Atari 7600, a Nintendo 64 and a Wii. Theyll be set up side-by-side and projected onto the Menil in enormous dimensions. Most of us knew these games in their living-room context, so playing them in billboard-size versions will be a new experience.
Karolina Sobeckas Sniff, an interactive projection of an animated CG dog that responds to the gestures of viewers, is presented at 8 p.m. on Thursday at Chick and Chica, 3710 Main. And Eddo Sterns Wizard Takes All, a live game featuring a battle between an all-powerful wizard and an army of avatars which are controlled by the audience, takes place at 8 p.m. on Saturday at the Orange Show for Visionary Art, 2402 Munger.
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See Robert Thoths The Chip Tune Crooner at 8 p.m. on Friday. Menil Collection, 1515 Sul Ross. For information and a full schedule, call 713-868-2101 or visit www.aurorapictureshow.org. Free.
Sept. 15-17, 8 p.m., 2011