Game On: Recent Video Work by Eddo Stern
Eddo Stern is an artist and game designer whose work explores the uneasy, often unconscious connections between physical existence and electronic simulation, with particular focus on violence, memory and identification. Using various media including computer software and hardware, game design, live performance, digital video and kinetic sculpture, Stern's work explores the role of game design as a medium for artistic expression and cultural impact. Born in Tel Aviv, Stern currently teaches in the Design/Media Arts Department at UCLA.
This selection of work focuses on his machinima videos, meditations on history, religion, nostalgia, nationalism, and masculinity, cobbled together from found electronic sources: MIDI soundtracks, online forums, and, above all, video games.
Note: Eddo Stern will be speaking in person at the New Media Workshop on Friday, November 19 at 10:30am in Cobb 310.
"Sheik Attack is a contemporary non/fiction horror film woven from pop nostalgia, computer war games, the sweat of virtual commandos, the blood of Sheiks and a mis-remembrance of a long lost Zionist Utopia."
Vietnam Romance is compiled from the sources available exclusively on the computer desktop environment - games, graphics and music. A remix of the Vietnam war experience with a MIDI soundtrack and computer game clips, Vietnam Romance is a tour of nostalgia for romantics and deathmatch veterans. “...Feel the Nam, Feel the elephant grass, Feel the red clay, Feel the cong, Feel the rain, Feel the Nam."
Best Flame War Ever (King of Bards vs. Squire Rex)
Best Flame War Ever (King of Bards vs. Squire Rex, June 2004) is a two channel 3D computer animation diptych recreating an online flame war about degrees of expertise around the computer fantasy game Everquest, as followed by the artist in June 2004. The specific points of contention may appear recondite at first glance, but gradually the unfolding narrative acquires an unexpected pathos and reveals a glimpse into the shifting codes of masculinity."
Level Sounds like Devil (Baby in Christ vs His Father)
In Level Sounds like Devil (Baby In Christ vs. His Father, May 2006), a teenager living with an adoptive Christian family posts the question to the online Christian forums: "Is World of Warcraft Evil?" The Community helps him reckon with the moral and spiritual dilemmas of reconciling his life in World of Warcraft, with the strict edits of his father and the challenges of following his new faith. As a new synthetic fantasy world encroaches on the territory of an established religion, the inner workings of faith, truth and the boundaries of reality begin to unravel.
"Here, Stern appropriates a wealth of icons and emoticons from online forums and uses them to crown and dress a synthetic goddess "herself an icon" which expresses the various emotions at her command in her own way."
2006, 25min, with Jessica Hutchins
"Landlord Vigilante tells the story of a Los Angeles cab-driver-turned-landlady, who has nothing in life except for her fierce belief in individual freedoms and the marketplace."
Co-presented with the New Media Workshop.