The technology of naps

Workplace Klingon

Video games invade the world of art: My New York column

New York magazine has just published an art column by me, in which I talk about the increasing use of old-school video games in today’s art. I reference various pieces, ranging from hip-top tracks that sample gaming sounds to Lucky Wander Boy to Cory Arcangel, who hacked a Super Mario cartridge so that it would produce only a blue sky with an infinite parade of those hallucinogenic Nintendo clouds:

The piece — Super Mario Clouds — was part of this year’s Whitney Biennial, and when you look at it, you realize those early games were practically Impressionistic in their stripped-down beauty. Since they have no complex 3-D to hide behind, gazing at these images is like observing the internal life of a computer: You can peek through the screen and see the truly alien mind of the machine. Retro video games are what computers think about when we’re not around.

You can read the entire column online here for free!

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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