Blown Up: Gaming and War

    Saturday, January 19, 2013 to Saturday, March 2, 2013

    Opening
    • Saturday, January 19, 2013
    Curator: Vicky Moufawad-Paul Artists: Harun Farocki, Wafaa Bilal, Mohammed Mohsen Vernissage and Roundtable: Saturday, January 19th 1-5pm Roundtable will include: Vicky Moufawad-Paul, Mohammed Mohsen and Rehab Nazzal Critical text by: Vicky Moufawad-Paul Gallery 101 is pleased to present Blown Up: Gaming and War, an exhibition in which three artists from different geopolitical positions in the distribution of war – Germany, Iraq, and the Palestinian diaspora – improvise strategies of engagement with the ever accelerating relationship of video games to wars. Harun Farocki's two-channel video installation Serious Games I: Watson is Down illustrates the ways that the American military use video games in the recruitment, training, and post-combat therapy of soldiers. In The Night of Bush Capturing: A Virtual Jihadi, Wafaa Bilal has modified a game that has been used in the ideological component of the battle between the American military and Al Qaeda. The subject of Bilal's intervention began with a widely distributed American made game where players hunt Saddam Hussein. In response, Al-Qaeda added a new 'skin' to the American game so that players hunt George Bush. Mohammed Mohsen's video game Weak, is a poetic exploration of the architecture of gaming and its impact on a colonized subject who grew up playing these games. Having experienced one of the few ineffectually censored access points to western media in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s, Mohsen suggests ways in which video games were a troubling source of pleasure and political anxiety. I have assembled this exhibition based on my interest in the ways that players' geographical locations and their relationships to power and violence transmute their negotiations with the screen. When a real war is happening in your city, for example Jenin or Baghdad, the public space of the outdoor playground is turned into a battlefield and the notion of video games representing a hyperreality is mutated. Farocki's installation turns our attention to the very real connection that persists between video games, simulation, potentiality, risk, and the ways that wars are waged and capital reproduced.x The interventions of games like those created by Bilal and Mohsen refute claims that the spread of technology would simply homogenize cultures. Instead they demonstrate that various cultures are innovating technologies that better reflect their own subjectivities, that the flow of influence is multidirectional and further, that all cultures are contaminated by these ongoing polyphonic permutations."  Vicky Moufawad-Paul, 2012 ----------------------------------------------------------------- Vicky Moufawad-Paul is a curator, video artist, and the Artistic Director at A Space Gallery. She holds an MFA from York University where she completed research on the visual culture of Palestine, a topic that she has published widely on. Recently she has curated screenings and discussions at 16 Beaver in New York City, and exhibitions in Montreal at Montreal Arts Interculturels, and in Toronto at the Inside Out Film Festival, Interaccess Electronic Media Arts Centre, and A Space Gallery. She was the founding Executive Director of the Toronto Arab Film Festival, has been an advisor to the Toronto Arts Council and the Toronto Palestine Film Festival, and has worked at the Toronto International Film Festival. Moufawad-Paul has exhibited her videos nationally and internationally.