Breaking Games: Cory Arcangel

Cory Arcangel’s pieces consist primarily of hacked and re-coded video games, spliced videos, and sculptures that reference pop culture. He got his start on Nintendo NES cartridges by removing all aspects of games like Super Mario Bros and just leaving a slow byproduct of it, like the clouds in the background moving slowly and aimlessly across the screen. His shows consist of reworked popular culture such as video games, movies and music, and functions on Photoshop.

His art is really interesting, although it took me a minute to understand what I was looking at. I didn’t understand why he would just re-purpose Mario clouds, but the effect of doing so is almost peaceful. It’s just clouds, small and digital, floating by on their blank blue space. His use of simple designs, like the rainbow images, are bold but not difficult to understand. After all, it’s just a function in Photoshop that made it happen.

Photoshop CS series

His sculptures, too, are unique and reflect the idea of the 2000s. The rotating displays really interested me mostly because, upon scrolling past them, their shape seemed to distort the image in which they were held. Their design is intended to be dynamic, but even the image still reflected their unusual moving capability.

Research in Motion (Kinetic Sculpture #6), 2011

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