What is art? That’s not an easy question to answer, and art critics and artists have been debating the topic for a long time. For instance, when photography first emerged, people said it was not an art form. The same happened with film, and with readymade objects like Duchamp’s classic Fountain, which was simply a signed urinal. Over the years, many have suggested that anything can be art when an artist calls it art or it is displayed in a gallery. Since the 1980s, there has been a new debate: are video games art? As you would expect, many people claim that video games are indeed an art form while many others vehemently refute that video games can be art.
To me it seems like the ’90s just happened, but I was recently reminded that those born in 1990 are now over 30 years old. Yeah, crazy. The passage of time takes people by surprise, which is one of the reasons nostalgia washes over us in reoccurring waves. Currently, everything old is new again when it comes to the resurgence of Nineties pop culture!
From dance trends, to toys, food, fashion, music and more — we’re consumed with inspiration that allows us to live in the past. It’s no secret that people are willing to spend more if the product reminds them fondly of a previous time, and marketers have been tapping into the trend to drive purchasing power. Just in time for Prime Day, here are a few products from the no-so-distant past that you’re probably seeing more of these days, especially on social media.
For this installation, entitled Super Mario Clouds (2002), Cory Arcangel hacked into and modified a cartridge of a Super Mario Bros, the blockbuster Nintendo videogame released in the United States in 1985. By tweaking the game’s code, the artist erased all of the audio and visual elements except for the iconic, fluffy white clouds that scroll endlessly across the bright blue sky.
Arcangel, who is trained as a musician, considers computers and video game consoles as his instruments; he will often learn a new programming language in order to develop an artwork. Viewers cannot handle the console on display here, but they can model their own version: Arcangel provides detailed instructions as well as the code for re-creating this project on his website.
Photographed in the Whitney Museum of American Art in NYC.
Sculptor and illustrator Jaime “Kalapusa” Margary is a Super Mario Brothers fan who created this amazing “life like” model of the games’ Piranha Plant character. I love this thing! You can see more of Jaime’s work at this link.
“I have this theory: you know that Guitar Hero or Guitar Band game? I wish those had come out fifteen years ago, because it would have kept a lot of these fucking dipshits from being in bands. They would have just gotten off playing Guitar Hero or Guitar Band and they would have left music to the musicians. Damn! Because there are a lot of kids that can kind of play, they can kind of write songs and they can kind of . . . fuck that man! I don’t do this because I “kind of can do it,” I do it because I live it and I breath it and I love it. I don’t really even get paid that much to do it but even if they weren’t paying me – I’d still do it. A lot of these cats can’t do it and, all right that’s cool. I’m not going to hold that against them. I’m not going to be that cynical bastard, but I just know what the score is. So, don’t player hate me, just stay out of my way (laughs).”