ArtSlant: Virtue in De-Virtualizing

Joseph DeLappe: Screen Shot (curated by Gordon Laurin)

Where Where Art Space, No. 319-1, East End Art Zone A, Caochangdi Village, Chaoyang District, Beijing

9 – 31 July, 2011

Combat is a staple for ingredient for all types of gaming and the urge to realism in virtual recreations of real-life battlefields has become an extensive sub-genre of the online gaming experience. These virtual fields of glory play on exercises of strategy and coordination to the extent that they are equally useful as training and recruitment tools for the military, teaching skills and attitudes that have real-world implications and applications.

Over the last month American artist Joseph DeLappe has been resident at Beijing’s Where Where Space, and the show Screen Shot presented the results of his time here. DeLappe has a long history of working in the digital realm and this show presents a series of new drawings, photographs and a video in part based on his ongoing performance Dead-in-Iraq. Dead-in-Iraq is the artist’s intervention in the freely downloadable US Army recruiting game America’s Army. DeLappe enters the game in the character of an American soldier, but refusing to take part in the battles. When he witnesses another player killed by enemy- (and one assumes, given the claims to realism, also friendly-) fire, the artist uses the in-game chat system to post the name of a real-life soldier killed in Iraq as part of the American presence there.

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