2012 Artist: Billy Rennekampadmin / September 4, 2020
> > > Big Reality Previous Next Big Reality Mar 15 2012- Mar 29 2012 Opening Hours: 7:00PM – 10:00PM Curated by Brian Droitcour RSVP.
“Big Reality” proposes that contemporary everyday life seamlessly integrates elements of fantasy and play through consumer technology and networked media.
The exhibition explores this proposition through artworks that draw imagery, themes, and devices from a relatively young and heavily stereotyped genre of play: the fantasy role-playing game.
Born in the early seventies, when Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax hacked the rules of historical war simulations to make room for individual heroics and magic spells, the RPG blends game and narrative, systems and storytelling.
It brought romance and adventure to models of numerical cognition, which appealed to players familiar with nascent computing culture.
“From Nethack to play-by-post forums on the WWW,” an Ars Technica blogger wrote in 2009, “the first thing that computer geeks do upon inventing a new medium is play Dungeons and Dragons with it.” Whether played with dice and pencils, costumes and props, or a videogame console, the RPG codes a particular, specifically contemporary relation of the self of the world, one in which technology and abstraction, fantasy and play are deeply implicated in the routines of everyday life.
Fluxus and Oulipou captured the spirit of a freshly cybernetic world in works that incorporated chance, systems, open-endedness and open relations between author and audience.
Gygax and Arneson gave the same spirit a popular form.
With a few exceptions, the works in “Big Reality” are not games.
Rather, they crystallize in a variety of mediums the expansive attitude toward life that play and imagination afford.
The exhibition’s artists grew up in a world with RPGs, in a time when concepts of “virtuality” and “real life” were necessarily disrupted as everyday modes of communicating and receiving information about the world rapidly changed.
For them, fantasy is not an escape but one of many facets of an increasingly big reality.
With works by: Arcanebolt (Mark Beasley, Tamas Kemenczy, Alex Inglizian), Bradley Benedetti, BFFA3AE, Laura Brothers, John Bruneau, The Center for Tactical Magic, Jacob Ciocci, Brody Condon, Chris Coy, Julia Ellingboe, Desiree Holman, Timothy Hutchings, Butt Johnson, Daniel Leyva, Guthrie Lonergan, Nick Montfort, Shana Moulton, Brenna Murphy, Oregon Painting Society, Robby Rackleff, Billy Rennekamp, Deb Sokolow, Eddo Stern, Third Faction, John Scott Tynes, Andrej Ujhazy, and David Wightman.
Brian Droitcour is a writer, translator, and curator based in New York.
Related Events Past Events Brody Condon’s Lawful Evil (2007) Venue: Thu.
Mar 15, 2012 7:00 pm – Thu.
Mar 15, 2012 10:00 pm Brody Condon’s performance piece Lawful E…click for more.
Oregon Painting Society’s Floor Game (2012) Venue: Thu.
Mar 15, 2012 7:00 pm – Thu.
Mar 15, 2012 10:00 pm Oregon Painting Society will play a mystical costume…click for more.
Live-streaming “Big Reality” gallery tour Venue: Sat.
Mar 17, 2012 1:00 pm – Sat.
Mar 17, 2012 2:00 pm Mark your calendar for a live-streaming gallery tour…click for more.
Featured Press Critic’s Pick: ”…an entrance to the dream and game space, which are one and the same.” – ARTFORUM Everything You Need to Know This Week on New York’s Art Scene: “Fans of Dungeons & Dragons, rejoice!” – Guest of a Guest Reality is Big in Brooklyn – ARTINFO Mitt Romney as a D&D Character.
NYC Show Celebrates Art & Gaming: “…the beginning of a busy year for the New York City art and gaming scene.” – Wired Robby Rackleff, from Guild, 2012 Download Hi-Res Image Related Publication The “Big Reality” exhibition catalogue includes texts by Brian Droitcour, Tavis Allison, Joanne McNeill and Kristin Lucas (in conversation), Gene McHugh, as well as artists’ texts by The Center of Tactical Magic, Nick Montfort, John Bruneau, and Andrej Ujhazy. It will be available starting March 12 and at 319 Scholes during the run of the exhibition.
Works (In Order of Appearance) Richard, Jim, and You, .
2012 Artist: Deb Sokolow
Description: hand-drawn diagrams.
2012 Artist: Robby Rackleff
Description: a video relating the course of an RPG campaign involving two players and a game master that becomes embroiled in difficulty.
iMaginary Numbers, 2012 Artist: BFFA3AE.
Description: installation incorporating light and print.
Keywords: sculpture, installation, print.
Puppetland / Power Kill, .
1999 Artist: John Scott Tynes
Description: game instructions, bound.
Keywords: game, text.
Steal Away Jordan, .
2007 Artist: Julia Ellingboe
Description: an RPG about slaves in the antebellum United States who are trying to be free.
Text-Adventure Maps, .
1988 Artist: Nick Montfort
Description: Game maps drawn as a player.
Notes for Book & Volume, .
2005 Artist: Nick Montfort
Description: Notes for Montfort”s work of interactive fiction, Book & Volume.
2011 Artist: Brenna Murphy
Description: digital composition, print.
2012 Artist: Brenna Murphy
Description: digital composition, print.
Lawful Evil, 2007 Artist: Brody Condon.
Description: staged game of Dungeons & Dragons.
Keywords: performance, game.
Formal Issues 7.1, 2012 Artist: Timothy Hutchings.
Description: Temporary installation which elaborates on the effects of incidental RPG drawing.
Selections from Plagmada, the Play-Generated Map and Document Archive, 1978 Artist: Timothy Hutchings.
Description: Plagmada is a collection of ephemera saved from game sessions, presented, as Hutching writes in the archive’s mission statement, “as both a historical record of a revolutionary period of experimental play and as aesthetic objects in their own right.” (BD).
Keywords: net art, text, print.
demon lord scroll gate grate hatcher ipsum, 2012 Artist: Andrej Ujhazy.
Description: loop of digital images in lcd frame.
NPC, 2007 Artist: David Wightman.
Description: a collection of childhood RPG papers.
Untitled (Grid), 2012 Artist: Butt Johnson.
Various Controllers, Maps, and a Robotic Accessory, 2007 Artist: Butt Johnson.
Description: drawings, situating contemporary youth culture and virtuosic doodling in a long tradition of manuscript illumination and ornamental drafsmanship.
Not a Hero, 2007 Artist: John Bruneau.
Description: World of Warcraft performance in which the player character Dave, an office worker, wandered through Azeroth’s human territories looking innocently for a place to stay, humbly refusing to participate in violence and expressing wide-eyed dismay at the people killing each other around him.
Keywords: sound, performance, print.
Ultimate Jacket: 9 Paths to Power, 2006 Artist: The Center for Tactical Magic.
Description: a costume that provides not just the spirit to act but the tools as well.
Fantasy Character Framework (a hypothetical primary framework), 2010 URL:.
Virtual Player Framework, 2010 URL:.
Primary Framework, 2010 URL:.
BALL 0018 (Jus Duet), 2012 Artist: Billy Rennekamp.
Description: fabricated ball, dispelling the made of branding”s fetish.
AM I EVIL.
(Trapped and Frozen Forever #3), 2011 Artist: Jacob Ciocci.
Description: collages and video containing animations with found clips of esoteric rituals and representations of arcane magic in pop culture.
Keywords: projection, multimedia, video, music.
Fortress of Amplitude Costume, 2008 Artist: David Wightman.
Description: costume for a music project that highlights the overlap between the youth subcultures of fantasy gamers and heavy metal fans.
Hemorrhoid Dress with Assorted Props, 2012 Artist: Shana Moulton.
Description: installation of objects that have appeared in Moulton”s “Whispering Pines” series: a dress with a hemorrhoid pillow sewn in the seat, a bejewelled neck brace, an orb fountain, a square of memory foam, and a yoga mat.
Floor Game, .
2012 Artist: Oregon Painting Society
Description: an installation composed of mirrors, plants, LED lightings, lasers, and analog synthesizers.
Keywords: sound, projection, multimedia, installation.
Studies, 2010 Artist: Chris Coy.
Description: collected YouTube videos.
Keywords: video, net art.
Image Sea_rch: Demiurge in the Cupboard, 2012 Artist: Bradley Benedetti.
Description: cauldron containing video set.
Keywords: video, sculpture, installation.
2011 Artist: Arcanebolt (Mark Beasley
Alex Inglizian, Tamas Kemenczy).
Description: Arduino controller and hacked electronics.
Keywords: interactive, multimedia.
DPS: Demand Player Sovereignty, .
2011 Artist: Third Faction
Description: Third Faction is a group of World of Warcraft gamers who encourage players to think critically about the conflict-based restrictions imposed by Blizzard, the producer of WoW.
Keywords: video, performance.
land, 2011 Artist: Andrej Ujhazy.
Description: animated gif projection.
Keywords: animated gif, projection.
Flat Moment, .
2012 Artist: Laura Brothers
Description: digital image in lcd photo frame.
Stuffy Head Portrait, 2012 Artist: Laura Brothers.
Description: digital image in lcd picture frame.
START, 2012 Artist: Billy Rennekamp.
Description: A video wherein a hero moves through a suburban landscape that has been made to seem magical with a mix of costumes, props, and video effects.
Keywords: video, game.
Save Point, 2012 Artist: Daniel Leyva.
Description: In Final Fantasy, the save point was often represented as a bed.
This installation of a child”s bed with gaming scenes projected on it stands as a post marking the viewer”s progress.
Domain, 2006 Artist: Guthrie Lonergan.
Description: video, 3:11.
Keywords: video, net art.
319 Scholes Street Brooklyn, NY 11206.