An exhibition of historic and contemporary artists' computer games.

Jorge Luis Borges' 1941 short story "The Garden of Forking Paths" predates the Internet but its notions of non-linearity, the storyline surrounding an infinite, labyrinthine book that realises multiple paths and futures are echoed in the information age with hypertext, the World Wide Web and the form and structure of computer games.

Just as Borges and his contemporaries pushed the envelope of the narrative form, so too artists have been creating and modifying computer games, experimenting with the notions of what a game is and exploring alternate approaches to interaction and play methodologies. This exhibition draws together notable historic and contemporary examples of games created by artists that push the bounds of the genre and break the orthodox set of rules.
Laurie Anderson (USA) with Hsin-Chien Huang (Taiwan)
Andy Deck (USA)
Anita Fontaine (Australia) and Mike Pelletier (Canada)
Jaron Lanier (USA)
Michael Nyman (UK)
Nina Pope and Karen Guthrie (UK)
Tale of Tales (Belgium)
Neil Jenkins
Opening hours
3rd - 24th October 2009
Thursday & Friday 12pm-5pm
Saturday 11am-4pm

Loop Space. 109 Hunter Street, Newcastle, NSW
Puppet Motel
Laurie Anderson (USA)
with Hsin-Chien Huang (Taiwan)

Laurie Anderson's interactive CD ROM Puppet Motel is an imaginary  
universe made up of the interplay between light and darkness, mystery  
and poetry. This universe is populated by puppets and, of course, its  
creator, the artist herself. The three dimensional virtual spaces are  
crammed with ghosts and secrets: the visitor is constantly taken by  

Watch out for the electric sockets - they will take you back to the  
hall of time. If you get stuck or lost, press the \u2018esc' key to go to  
the motel basement where you can access all of the rooms.


Space Invaders Act 1732
Andy Deck (USA) 1995

Space Invaders Act 1732 is a response to the Space Advertising  
Prohibitions Act of 1993, legislation against giant advertising  
billboards in space that plays with the symbolism of the arcade classic.

Andy Deck makes public art for the Internet that resists generic  
categorisation: collaborative drawing spaces, game-like search  
engines, problematic interfaces, informative art. An avid critic of  
corporate culture and militarism, Deck's hybrid news-art projects  
have addressed a variety of issues that are regularly misrepresented  
in the mass media. In the interest of preserving this available  
alternative media, and sensing the drift of the Internet toward a  
marketing and entertainment medium, he has allied himself with open  
source software developers, optimising his work for use with the  
Linux operating system, and publishing source code for much of his  


CuteXDoom II
Anita Fontaine (Australia) & Mike Pelletier (Canada)

CuteXDoom II is psychedelic video-game mod that takes a violent shoot  
em up and converts it into an experience of popular cultures  
obsession cuteness. Your character has joined a supermodern religious  
cult which believes that the worship of cute material objects will  
lead to happiness and enlightenment (or nasty experience!!).

Once granted access to the cult; thus completing level one, the  
character then finds themselves awoken from a paroxysm to a now  
hauntingly surreal landscape: the once hyper-cute characters have  
been altered to appear malevolent, predatory. The protagonist has  
essentially been \u201cpoisoned\u201d by the cult, and the objective undergoes  
a paradigm shift to escape the cult. The character must then mediate  
a psychedelic hyperspectra of disorientating hallucinogenic optical  
effects. Fontaine draws the parallels between the \u201cpoison\u201d of vapid  
materialism allowed to run rampant, and literally peels back the  
fašade of \u201ccuteness\u201d to reveal a problematized cultural landscape.


Jaron Lanier (USA) 1983

Moondust is a generative music video game created for the Commodore  
64 by virtual reality pioneer, Jaron Lanier and is widely considered  
the first art video game, it is also considered to be the first  
interactive music publication. Lanier formed VPL which would later go  
on to create the DataGlove and to become one of the primary  
innovators of virtual-reality research and development throughout the  

Moondust's gameplay is characterized by graphical complexity, and the  
game features an abstract ambient score. The goal of the game is to  
guide a spaceman around the screen creating strange patterns and  
getting bullet-shaped spaceships to pass through the trails that the  
spaceman creates. In in-game scoring system assigns point-values  
according to an algorithm.


Frame Game
Michael Nyman (UK) 2003

Frame Game is a video taken form the series Distractions, shot by  
artist Michael Nyman in various parts of the world during the past  
fifteen years. To Nyman, there seemed no point in filming static  
monuments, so in Frame Game when he found him self at the ancient  
site of Persepolis, the length of each shot of the static ruins is  
dictated by the time it takes the frame to clear itself of tourists.  
In post-production Nyman enters into a competition with those  
tourists who choose not to move out of frame.

Experimentation with the medium of video, its limits and its ability  
to allow an infinite range of possibilities and random coincidences,  
remains a focal point in Nyman's work. In Frame Game, Nyman  
appropriates the recording of an ordinary scene depicting a  
historical site visited by a group of tourists. Shot with a hand-held  
camera and altered with digital intervention, the footage is then  
distorted and turned into a fictitious set of video games, seemingly  
inviting the viewer to engage with the work, much in the same manner  
a player would engage with a video game. Nyman's manipulation of his  
own imagery is an attempt to communicate an alternative scenario of  
the mundane and the monotonous, instantly transformed into a plot of  
unfolding events and unexpected results. Consequently, the medium  
becomes part of the message it conveys, contributing to the very  
aesthetics it purports to describe.


An Artists Impression (of a Text Based Environment)
Nina Pope & Karen Guthrie (UK)

An Artists' Impression was a long-term project originating in Pope  
and Guthrie's fascination with the \u2018soft underbelly' of the WWW!  
Researching a number of live online \u2018games' and concentrating on  
those where simple role-playing and social activities happened, and  
where the characters, landscapes and activities occurred constantly  
(in text only) and in realtime. These text-based worlds - the most  
visually impoverished corners of the web - are nevertheless compelling.

Both banal / workaday and fantastical in content, the artists were  
also impressed by the volume of regular players in these MUSHes and  
MOOs, and the absence of anything more than a \u2018code of honour' in  
most of these that delineated the players' conduct. They developed  
their own social online game or MUSH, Island - which you can still  

An open-ended experiment, it's a live, interactive space which during  
the piece's most lively time - when the project was first exhibited  
and toured - has hosted many players and seen many events and  
buildings... Shortly after the work went online they decided to  
undertake the making of a physical \u2018impression' of this space which  
would still somehow articulate the impossibility of mirroring an  
online space.

The online MUSH culture seemed intuitively to link to the aesthetic  
of the model railway, and so the island was developed using these  
modelling techniques and aesthetics. When the project was finally  
exhibited (first at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London) the  
visitor was met with a vast model island (8m x 4m) and us (the  
artists) at work in corner workshops, constantly trying to update the  
model with the online \u2018game' changes.

A parallel audience experienced the project solely online.


The Path
Tale of Tales (Belgium)

The Path is a darkly seductive horror game inspired by older versions  
of little Red Riding Hood.

Six sisters live in an apartment in the city. One by one their mother  
sends them on an errand to their grandmother, who is sick and  
bedridden. The teenagers are instructed to go to grandmother's house  
deep in the forest and, by all means, to stay on the path! Wolves are  
hiding in the woods, just waiting for little girls to stray. But  
young women are not exactly known for their obedience, are they?

Will they be able to resist the temptations of the forest? Will they  
stay clear of danger? Can they prevent the ancient tale from being