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THE ARTIST IS PRESENT

Even if you didn’t experience it by yourself, most of you will have heard about last year’s The Artist is Present performance retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art in New York where artist Marina Abramovi? (Yugoslav, b. 1946) created a unique audience experience: a 736-hour and 30-minute static, silent piece, in which she sat immobile in the museum’s atrium, while spectators were invited to take turns sitting opposite her, which 1,565 visitors did in three months.

For those who may have missed this experience, artist and game developer Pippin Barr has created a browser-based video game called The Artist Is Present: From purchasing a ticket at the entrance to the artwork on the wall you would have queued to get to Abramovi? the experience feels somewhat authentic (queue times vary according to the time of day, from 20 minutes to over four hours).

“In a way, video games can be incredibly intimidating for players, with the premise that they’ll challenge you and be hard to play. This game is not hard, and it’s not necessarily fun either. It was hugely about it being authentic, for example in having the museum be closed sometimes. In a reduced sense, the game puts the player in the position of the artist; they’re expected to go through this ordeal of having to wait. It mirrors the idea of what Marina Abramovi? was going through. You’re performing yourself. I think it’s good for people to learn that games don’t have to cater to your every desire, they don’t have to be wish fulfilment,” Barr told The Village Voice’s Rosie Gray.

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