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tom moody

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Over Christmas I watched my nephews explore every crook and nanny of the evil Super Mario 64. Evil because it may be the closest thing you'll experience to the waking nightmare of a paranoid schizoprenic, outside a clinical setting or bad drug experience. It's even worse because everything's so happy. Giant colorful blockheads materialize smiling out of nowhere to crush you, holes open up suddenly in the ground and dump you down zany slides into oppressive dungeons, slippery creatures who must be caught to restore "health" endlessly evade capture, and in each horrific, logically inverted world--Lethal Lava Land, Dire Dire Docks, and perhaps trickiest of all, the dreaded Shifting Sand Land--you are confronted with a twisted, barely comprehensible system of rules you must master to become "normalized."* I found the changing point of view fascinating, as the plucky plumber delved through deep 3-D space, with the camera acting as both player and narrator, a la Brian De Palma. One reviewer derides the camera work despite its innovation for 1996:
The biggest flaw in the gameplay is the camera angles from which you view the action. Nintendo obviously spent some time developing a 'smart-cam' to follow the action from useful angles, but it doesn't work as well as it should. Often your view of Mario is blocked by large objects. If you have the time you can usually rotate the camera manually, but that doesn't help when the thing blocking your view is the boss that you're fighting. There is a camera mode that follows directly behind Mario (the Mario butt-cam) but it's generally not a very good perspective. Jumping Flash solved this problem by relying on a 1st person perspective (and sky-high jumps), but that still wouldn't be a very useful angle for Mario. Unfortunately, the camera really just needs to be even smarter.
Picky, picky gamers. I also found it intriguing that my nephews gravitated to this game released when they were toddlers. Just entering their teens (or 10s) now and accomplished Warcrafters, they have already cultivated a refined retro sensibility.

*In Shifting Sand Land I saw Mario "die" about 20 times as the players tried to master a particular trick--each time he clung futilely to the base of a pyramid before being swallowed by deadly quicksand.

- tom moody 1-13-2005 9:01 am [link] [8 comments]

BigBitVortex vs jimpunk

Thanks to jimpunk for adding to this, the pacifist version.

Also, see SCREENFULL's remix of a Duncan Hannah, returning the image to its original milieu plus more up-to-date cyber-abstract blowing up.

- tom moody 1-13-2005 12:52 am [link] [add a comment]

Tyler Green twits New York bloggers for not responding to these paragraphs from a Peter Plagens Los Angeles Times article:
L.A.'s contemporary art world is younger and hipper than New York's. [....] In L.A., the big competition seems to be among graduate-school studio programs rather than galleries; some students are scouted for gallery recruitment even before their master of fine arts theses shows have gone up. The ratio of big-time contemporary collector dollars to working young artists is greater in L.A. than anywhere else, including New York. Whenever I'm asked, I tell ambitious art students in the heartland to head west, not east, to try to get noticed.

But many young L.A. artists also experience the career arcs of top models or fruit flies: about one season, if that. And nowhere in the country -- maybe the world -- is popular culture more expertly conceived, technologically amped, attractively packaged, and overwhelmingly pervasive -- even unto gallery art -- as in Southern California. A few weeks ago, I prowled around Otis College of Art and Design and thought that if they'd just present the sketchbooks and mock-ups from the toy design department as the fine arts theses shows, Santa Monica galleries would snap 'em up whole.
One West Coast blogger takes this as proof that L.A. has replaced NY as the center of the art world, something I wish I had a quarter for every time I'd read in an L.A. based publication. This business of evaluating a scene based on the energy of its graduate schools seems to me not very healthy, wherever the locale. The gauge should be not who produces the best work under faculty supervision but who stays with it over the years, and what they produce, rubbing shoulders with the largest number of fellow perserverers.

As for the alternative/rival/fellow traveler to New York in visual art--I believe that's Europe. An Atlantic (Euro-New York-Caribbean-African) vs Pacific (Cal-Asian) dialectic might be more interesting than the tired U.S. coastal rivalries.

- tom moody 1-12-2005 11:56 pm [link] [add a comment]

Posting this live from Symantec Hell. Mac users please stop reading and keep your comments to yourself. I prefer my PC but this is the downside. Yesterday my Norton Internet Security and Antivirus switched off. I rebooted, ran security and antivirus scans, no bugs shown, but my assumption is some internet pest has found a way to turn off Norton and not allow the user (under "Options") to turn it back on. Call the 800 number, go through all the voice prompts, push 1 for "virus" (big mistake) and after 30 minutes get routed to an Indian call center. (A big fuck you to Symantec for screwing your own countrymen out of the shit wages they need.) The Indian gentleman asks me to do what I already did, which is run the security risks scan. I tell him it pulled up no threats, but I assume there's a threat because my Norton can't be turned on. He says he can't help me and will transfer me to a technician who "will help you get your Norton turned back on." That was 30 minutes of holding ago. Can anyone recommend a good security/antivirus product for the PC/Windows other than Norton?

FWIW I use Firefox for browsing and the firewall that came with Windows Service Pack 2 so I'm not completely naked here.

UPDATE: One of Thomas Friedman's shock troops of the capitalist future in Bangalore or wherever walked me through an uninstall/reinstall and Norton is back up now, with one lingering Live Update issue that may require yet another uninstall/reinstall. Total phone time: approximately 2.5 hours. At least they didn't charge me. Thanks, Paul, for the info on other companies. For the record I am not a prejudiced person but I believe American companies have an obligation to the communities that nurture them (meaning, provide basic needs and a good lifestlye for the executive class) not to export jobs.

- tom moody 1-12-2005 9:09 pm [link] [7 comments]

My post on Cory Arcangel's opening at Team Gallery has been updated to reflect that the opening is Thursday, Jan. 13, not yesterday, Jan. 11. Sorry for the error.

- tom moody 1-12-2005 8:14 pm [link] [add a comment]

Cory Arcangel

Cory Arcangel's show "Welcome 2 my Homepage Artshow" opens Thursday night, Jan. 13, at Team gallery.
The show includes a number of new hacked Nintendo game cartridges - the work that Arcangel has become known for - and a number of new works in the medium of video. In the former group are a fully interactive Ipod® programmed for the Nintendo® system and an absurdly slowed down version of Tetris®. In the latter group are Sans Simon, a video of Simon and Garfunkel in which the artist uses his hand to hide Simon's presence, and Geto Boys/Beach Boys in which videos by the two eponymous bands are played side by side creating an oddly harmonic synchronicity.

[...] Arcangel is interested in keeping the possibilities of collaboration open, as well as in continuing to reach out to other cultural fields for inspiration, fusing autonomous artworks with temporary and net-based actions. The show at Team, for example, marks the launch of, a search engine which only yields results about Doogie Howser, M.D. Also available is a new piece of software called T.A.C. (Total Asshole Compression), a program which increases the size of any file passed through it.
UPDATE: Jan. 13 is the opening date, not Jan. 11 as I originally posted.

- tom moody 1-12-2005 7:51 am [link] [3 comments]

A couple of sentences in the post on Steven Parrino have been revised to read:
One thing's sure: if Roberta Smith of the New York Times doesn't like your work, you'd be very lucky not to have her write your obit. Her tribute [to Parrino] is how shall we say...affectless? merely descriptive? The closest it comes to a value judgment is saying the work had a "relentless if oddly energetic punk nihilism," a collection of adjectives and adverbs that give off a nice crackle but probably cancel each other out.

- tom moody 1-12-2005 4:39 am [link] [add a comment]

Greater (Naples)

Greater (see below). This (upside down) image was saved from the website of a newspaper in Naples, FL, when the "post-hypnotic" exhibit traveled there. The review may still be up.

- tom moody 1-11-2005 11:52 pm [link] [add a comment]