By Harold Goldberg
It’s Independence Day, and while that celebration is more muted this year, something inspiring is happening at the Federal Hall‘s Great Rotunda at 26 Wall Street. Peter Bradley, the talented keyboardist and guitarist from Japanese Breakfast, has a new game called Nomologos. The work just debuted at the lauded, historic memorial and is part of the artful, 10-game Shall Make, Shall Be exhibition commemorating the 230th anniversary of the Bill of Rights, “each treating one of the first ten amendments to the US Constitution. Ten artists, game designers, and collectives were selected through an open call to produce games about individual amendments to the Constitution.” It runs through August 21.
Peter is not new to game creation. According to his website, he’s worked on music for Japanese BreakQuest, made by Elaine Fath and his wife Michelle Zauner, who won our New York Game Award for Best Music for Sable this past February. For the current exhibition, Bradley riffs on Amendent VI “the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury” with Nomologos, “a first person, keyboard-controlled video game via text input, in which game-space is mapped onto the semantic field of the Sixth Amendment.” His conceptual art, applied “first to music and the concept of keys, and now to language and the notion of semantic similarity….aims to test the limits of computation, to capture the meaning of an idea as its being is reduced to quantity.”
But there’s more to dig into and consider as you think about the 4th of July. Former New York Videogame Critics Circle member Ryan Kuo’s contribution is Father Figure and deals with Amendment IX, which states “the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” Kuo’s work “uses video games, productivity software, web design, and text to produce circuitous and unresolved movements that track the passage of objects through white escape routes. He holds a Master of Science in Art, Culture and Technology from MIT.”
Here’s the full description of games and art you’ll be able to check out at Federal Hall this summer:
… Which By Their Very Utterance …
Lexa Walsh makes projects, exhibitions, publications and objects, employing social engagement, institutional critique, radical hospitality and community building. Her upbringing as the youngest child of fifteen informs her work, as does practicing collectivity while coming of age in the post-punk scene of the 1990’s Bay Area. Embedded in her practice, she works as an arts laborer, organizer, curator and archivist. Walsh has founded or co-founded several arts platforms, including the Heinz Afterworld Lounge, an experimental music venue; Toychestra, an all-women, all-toy instrument ensemble; Oakland Stock, a branch of the Sunday Soup crowdfunding network; and most recently, the Bay Area Contemporary Arts Archive, a platform for the preservation of arts ephemera. Walsh has also worked as an artist-in-residence and/or curator at a variety of arts institutions, including a term as Social Practice Artist-in-Residence at the Portland Art Museum, and several years as a curator and administrator at CESTA, a Czech art center. She holds an MFA from Portland State University’s Art & Social Practice program and a BFA from California College of Arts and Crafts.
Andy Malone holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Detroit Mercy, and has worked in the exhibit design and custom furniture industry for over 25 years. Notable clients include Google, Twitch, Konami, Salesforce, Dolby, LG, Dodge, HP, T-Mobile, and Bethesda Games. His playable sculptures and games have been shown in over 75 exhibitions since 1995, including two recent solo exhibitions: Play Room (2017) and Happy Accidents (2019). As a curator of game arts, Malone co-organized Game Show Detroit (2006) at the Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit and Game Show NYC (2011) at Columbia University. Malone also curated the Bravo! Bravo! Art Exhibition at the Detroit Opera House in 2004 and 2005. Malone currently serves as Vice President of HATCH, an interdisciplinary arts center in Hamtramck, Michigan.
Cyber Soldiers in Cyber Houses
Vi Trinh works in digital and traditional media to examine the relationship between ecological and social patterns. A Vietnamese-American artist based in Washington, DC, Trinh graduated from the University of Richmond in 2019 with a B.A. in Visual and Media Arts Practice & Leadership. She is currently a MFA Fine Arts candidate at Goldsmiths University of London. Much of Trinh’s work is based in and on the Internet. Through her interactive digital art, Trinh explores dynamics of power and control, freedom and restraint, and how they manifest in networked media. Themes in Trinh’s work include aesthetics in ecological emergency; new temporal realities created by very large-scale phenomena; and the contradiction between the Internet as a seemingly free and democratic space, and the reality of the Internet as a site of exclusionary design, extractive corporatization, technologized colonialism, and the perpetuation of white supremacy.
Cherisse Datu and Latoya Peterson
Cherisse Santa Cruz Datu was raised on the island of Guam. A first-generation Filipino American, she was born to Kapangpangan parents who, despite not playing games themselves, fostered her love for them—perhaps because her Gameboy kept her quiet during long car rides. She is currently a video producer at Bethesda Softworks. She previously worked in video at ESPN’s The Undefeated and Al Jazeera’s The Stream. Datu received her Masters in Game Design and her Bachelor’s in Film and Media Arts from American University. A video producer with a background in broadcast news editing and digital entertainment, she finds comfort in creating small forms of playable art to help process current events.
Latoya Peterson lives at the intersection of emerging technology and culture. She is currently cofounder and CXO at Glow Up Games, a game studio working on their first title set in the world of HBO’s Insecure. Previously, she was the Deputy Editor, Digital Innovation for ESPN’s The Undefeated, an Editor-at-Large at Fusion, and the Senior Digital Producer for The Stream, a social media driven news show on Al Jazeera America. In 2018, she soft launched AI in the Trap, a collaborative art project that explores the future of artificial intelligence and predictive policing through a hip-hop lens. In 2016, she produced a critically acclaimed YouTube series on Girl Gamers that was highlighted on Spotify. She is currently on the advisory board of the Data & Society Institute and the board of visitors for The John S. Knight Journalism Fellowships. She is a US-Japan Leadership Foundation Fellow and a USC Civic Media Senior Fellow. She is also part of the selection committee for the Museum of Play’s World Video Game Hall of Fame.
___ vs ___
Shawn Pierre is a Visiting Assistant Arts Professor at the NYU Game Center and game designer working to combine new forms of play with different types of media. His work includes voice-controlled adventure games, social deduction SMS games, and physical games where players capture others in nets. In the past, Shawn has created and worked on crowd-based interactive activities, including installments at Graceland, as well as games for major sporting events. As a member and Project Director of Philly Game Mechanics, Shawn works to build a community where local creators meet new people and share their creative work.
Peter Bradley is a conceptual artist, whose recent work is about computers and metaphysics. Applied first to music and the concept of keys, and now to language and the notion of semantic similarity, his practice aims to test the limits of computation, to capture the meaning of an idea as its being is reduced to quantity. He lives in New York City and tours as a member of Japanese Breakfast.
Arnab Chakravarty, Moaw!, and Ian McNeely
Arnab Chakravarty is a designer, technologist and educator with a background in building interfaces for communities overlooked by dominant technology platforms. Previously, he worked as an ethnographer and designer in several multinational organizations; at NYU ITP, his interests have focused on living with the things that he makes, creating immersive experiences for co-liberation, and discovering what makes people touch things. His work has been shown at venues including FAB:Learn, No:Quarter, Bengaluru MakerFaire, Kochi Biennale, and NYC Media Lab.
Ian McNeely holds an MFA in Theater Arts from Brown University, where he wrote and produced a series of original rock operas. McNeely was awarded the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s 2009 Rex Rabold Fellowship and delivered the keynote speech at their annual HIV/AIDS fundraiser The Daedalus Project. He is the founder and artistic director of Broken Ghost Immersives, which produces theatrical events inspired by games.
Moaw! is a video game developer specializing in pixel art. They work to build creative communities through game development, bridging dialogues between STEM and art, and have worked professionally with many companies to make games and pixel-art advertisements. Outside of commercial work, they design open-source game development assets and engage in accessible education initiatives such as workshops and events through RVA Game Jams and Tutorial Stage. More recently, they were working as a remote-education consultant for CodeVA and you can discover more about their work at moaw.art.
Cruel and Unusual: Evolving Standards of Decency
Danielle Isadora Butler designs experiences, installations, and objects that create new opportunities for emotional connection. She has designed and produced playgrounds that teach about cooperation, multi-sensory poetry archives that encourage deep listening, and large-scale games that connect participants to their locales. Her skills in human-centered design extend from a background that combines arts education, creative technology, and restorative justice. Butler believes that building relationships is the key to engaging people in issues that feel too large or abstract to comprehend. She is especially passionate about improving access to water and using creative interventions to deepen New Yorkers’ relationship to their harbors. She is co-founder of both the Tideland Institute and the Awesome On The Water organization, which support cultural initiatives on New York waters.
Ryan Kuo creates works that are process-based, diagrammatic, and caught in a state of argument. He uses video games, productivity software, web design, and text to produce circuitous and unresolved movements that track the passage of objects through white escape routes. He holds a Master of Science in Art, Culture and Technology from MIT, and has held residencies at Pioneer Works and the Queens Museum Studio Program. Kuo’s works have been shown in venues such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, Queens Museum, TRANSFER, and bitforms gallery, and are distributed online at left gallery. His recent and forthcoming projects include File: A User’s Manual, an artist’s book about aspirational workflows modeled after software guides for power users; and Faith, a conversational AI agent that zealously embodies the blind “faith” underpinning both white supremacy and miserable white liberalism.
Kuo lives and works in New York City. He is not a programmer.
arts.codes is an artist collective and open-source distribution platform, co-directed by Margaret Schedel and Melissa F. Clarke, that celebrates art with computational underpinnings.
Melissa F. Clarke is a Brooklyn-based educator, designer, and artist working at the intersections of data, science, and design. In her work, she extrapolates interdisciplinary research into multimedia installations, generative environments, audiovisual sculptures, performances, and printed images. A graduate of NYU ITP, Clarke has taught media arts at SUNY Stony Brook, and has participated in residencies at Pioneer Works, the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics, and Visible Future Labs at SVA.
Margaret Schedel transcends the boundaries of disparate fields to produce integrated work at the nexus of computation and the arts. With an interdisciplinary career blending classical training in cello and composition, digital audio research, and computational arts education, she is internationally recognized for the creation and performance of ferociously interactive media. Her research in the sonification of gesture and data takes form in interactive opera, VR, and video games. Schedel is professor and co-director of computer music at SUNY Stony Brook.