- Part of...Darkly Comic
"I play games all the time," confesses Eddo Stern, speaking with a note of pride. The Los Angeles-based artist is a former game programmer who makes artwork that employs elements of gaming, examining their intrinsic function in shaping cross-cultural fantasies and ideologies. He also writes and lectures on games, and through the artists' cooperative C-Level, which he founded, generates public discussion of gaming culture through carnivalesque, performative gaming events.
For Darkly Comic, Stern will present new work alongside his trilogy of videos exploring the ways that the trauma of reality and history become digested in computer games as something pleasurable. Sheik Attack (****) and Vietnam Romance tell fictional histories of conflict in Israel and the Vietnam War through footage of game play. The videos evoke pop nostalgic pleasure alongside the dim realization that at some point in history, somewhere in the world, events resembling the ones in these videos did actually happen.
Sheik Attack (2000) melds Israeli pop songs with sampled computer war games, bringing to the foreground the functions of mediation and nostalgia in ideological constructs.
Vietnam Romance is a video about the Vietnam war composed entirely of computer game imagery. The piece plays not only with ideas about the mediation of history, but also with the fact that we increasingly experience the world through artificial constructions. The constructions in turn prompt a form of nostalgia, but it's a nostalgia that's not clearly linked to the real.