While John Gerrard and Brody Condon explore painting and photography, RSG playfully deconstructs the video loop. RSG’s series Prepared Playstation takes its name from a series of works by John Cage, the artist and musician who wrote compositions for “prepared piano”–one whose sound had been changed by objects placed on the hammers or dampers or between strings. The “preparation” in this case is distinctly low-tech, a rubber band wrapped around the game controller (below, top image) so that it holds the buttons in place and makes a scene from a game play perpetually. RSG-THUG2 (2005) (below, bottom image), a work in the Prepared Playstation series created for the 2005 exhibition Logical Conclusions: 40 Years of Rule-Based Art at the Pace Wildenstein gallery in New York, uses three scenes prepared inside the skateboarding game Tony Hawk’s Underground 2. The project exploits glitches in the game’s code: navigating through the game, RSG discovered moments where movement cannot be properly rendered or characters get trapped in loops. In one of the scenes from RSG-THUG2, the game character is skateboarding along a railing, and the game architecture “breaks open”–the image cracks and starts oscillating between the accurate representation of the image and colorful abstract forms. In all the Prepared Playstation scenes, RSG “catches” a particular game sequence and makes it play itself in a continuous loop. While the project references and plays with the concept of the video loop, it also reveals the architecture of its image construction, exposing the moment where the data creating the image is improperly processed.
Credit: Courtesy of RSG
Credit: Courtesy of Pace Wildenstein
Prepared Playstation, Three Modifications, and John Gerrard’s works all exist in a “slipping space” that opens up a new perspective on the qualities of the digital image. Prepared Playstation appears to be a video loop but reveals and deconstructs the creation of its images. Dust Storm (Dalhart, Texas), Animated Scene (Oil Field), and Resurrection (after Bouts) evoke painting and photography yet present scenes that are in constant motion or evolve over time and can be navigated. All the projects capture characteristics of traditional art forms and demonstrate how the digital image transcends and reconfigures them. They are 3-D image spaces that operate in real time and perpetually play themselves, suggesting a state of being driven by algorithmic calculations.