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"Paintings created by performing routine tasks on multi-touch hand held computing devices."
December 18, 2012 7:03 AM   Subscribe

The Winning Swipe For Every Level Of Angry Birds

Angry Birds All Levels is a work by Evan Roth, part of his Multi Touch, which "comments on the rise of casual gaming, identity and our relationship with mobile devices."

It is on display at the Science Gallery in Dublin.
posted by the man of twists and turns (52 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
This will not get me any further.
posted by chillmost at 7:05 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Roth also created a limited-run card deck that may take you back.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:08 AM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why so much contemporary art seem like something a 13 year old would find to be a terribly clever idea?
posted by leotrotsky at 7:10 AM on December 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Contemporary art, at the moment, is the union of OCD and WTF.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:14 AM on December 18, 2012 [11 favorites]


I think this is great even though watching War Games last night helps me describe my feelings on pocket timesuck games like Angry Birds. (The only winning move is to not play.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:26 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Culture has seemed (to me) to be accelerating in this particular direction for the past decade or more. The main purpose of much art seems to have been reduced to a kind of "thought bite"; we react by briefly thinking "that's clever", and then we move on to the next stimulus. Maybe a few days later someone mentions the piece of art in casual conversation, and we agree that it was "clever". We don't actually discuss it, or reflect upon what it might mean. Maybe we encounter another piece of art a few months later and briefly remember this one. Most of us probably have these sorts of creative ideas quite often; fortunately for our culture we tend not to turn them into art, or take them seriously, or expect other people to take them seriously. For the artist, I suppose it's a way of killing time until a real idea hits.

Either that, or I'm just in an uncharitable mood today.
posted by pipeski at 7:28 AM on December 18, 2012 [10 favorites]


Why so much contemporary art seem like something a 13 year old would find to be a terribly clever idea?

There's contemporary art, and then there's contemporary art that gets featured in tech/design blogs. Never mistake the two.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:28 AM on December 18, 2012 [17 favorites]


The only winning move is to not not to play
posted by dirtdirt at 7:28 AM on December 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Thorzad: that's a fair point. I mean Tara Donovan's stuff is freaking fabulous.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:34 AM on December 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


I've danced this dance with Shakesperian before, but I wholeheartedly with pipeski. Too much of contemporary art is so vacuous and devoid of any emotional engagement (with the creator or the viewer) that it verges on a satire of itself.

That said, I've been stuck on 9-3, and this installation is just what the doctor ordered.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 7:37 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Initially I thought they had discovered a single swipe which worked for every level. I was disappointed.
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 7:44 AM on December 18, 2012 [14 favorites]


Oh man, I'd love that Solitaire.exe deck.
posted by curious nu at 7:47 AM on December 18, 2012


curious nu: if they dance when you win, I'll split the cost with you.
posted by leotrotsky at 7:51 AM on December 18, 2012


My dad is so enamored with the WinXP and prior version of Solitaire, that I had to copy it from my old XP machine for his Win7 laptop. Hint: You need sol.exe but also sol.dll!
posted by Xoder at 7:53 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Too much of contemporary art is so vacuous and devoid of any emotional engagement (with the creator or the viewer) that it verges on a satire of itself.

How much do you consume?
posted by lumpenprole at 7:53 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


A couple of weeks ago my wife and I were in Milwaukee and went to the art museum there, as is our want. There was a piece by Jim Campbell called Taxi Ride to Sarah's Studio which consisted of a series of LED lights hung facing the wall which were programmed to recreate, in B&W approximation, a video that Campbell shot (presumably from a taxi). You can watch an excerpt from it here.

Watching that YouTube clip right now, I'm underwhelmed, as you may be too. It sounds like, I dunno, a cutesy idea, especially if you read the description under the video. Between the dense source of motion on one side and the fading ripples of light on the other, remarkable levels of detail emerge from the scant digital information supplied. Blah blah blah.

My wife and I stood in front of that piece for probably twenty-five minutes, approaching it from different angles, standing closer or further away, trying to decipher what various shapes were in projection, noticing the way that the LEDs hung on wires wasn't perfect and some twisted away from the wall a bit, which probably mucked up the image. The first few minutes I looked at the thing I couldn't even figure out what I was looking at aside from pulsing lights on a wall. It was amazing. Out of that entire museum it is the piece I remember first and most. It is haunting, silent, somehow playful and questioning at the same time, and right now thinking about it I want to hop on a train to Milwaukee just to see it again.

What is that piece about? I have no idea. Is it supposed to be a grand metaphor for transience or memory or something? God, I hope not. Looking at it online now, and reading my description of it, I can't help but feel a little twinge of defensiveness, like I need to present some thesis for the thing because otherwise it seems silly and ephemeral. Like something a 13-year old would think was clever.

Well, fuck you, 13-year old.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:56 AM on December 18, 2012 [19 favorites]


I was hoping that someone had figured out one gesture that I could use to beat every level.

This is less cool.
posted by LiteOpera at 8:05 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why so much contemporary art seem like something a 13 year old would find to be a terribly clever idea?

I'm as cynical as the next person about modern art, but I disagree about this piece just being a clever idea. True, at first glance it doesn't inform us much about the human condition, or open up a great metaphysical question for the viewer to engage with.

On the other hand, it does ask us to consider the record of our digital lives. And Angry Birds is a good place to start. It is a good metaphor for the way we can engage with something of no value in the pursuit of perfection. But in our digital lives we leave no trace of this. It is time spent to no avail.

For me, this piece addresses that issue. It shows us both a concrete view of perfection (the swipe made flesh) and an abstract view (because divorced from the game itself, the swipe becomes abstract). There are 300 sheets. When I react to how banal it is, I'm reacting to the art. Who on earth would spend their time doing this. Do they have nothing better to do? But those criticisms are equally valid of the game, where there is no meaningful trace of the search for perfection apart from a pattern of smudges across the screen.

The piece may or may not hit the mark. But I like it for at least attempting to try to bridge the digital and the physical when so much of our lives (here on MeFi, at work, on Facebook or Twitter etc etc) is recorded in 1s and 0s and just drops out of view.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:08 AM on December 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


But I like it for at least attempting to try to bridge the digital and the physical when so much of our lives (here on MeFi, at work, on Facebook or Twitter etc etc) is recorded in 1s and 0s and just drops out of view.

Yeah, this seems like a rich vein.

My only complaint is that the artist recorded his own swipes, and not those of outsourced labor.
posted by notyou at 8:25 AM on December 18, 2012


Why so much contemporary art seem like something a 13 year old would find to be a terribly clever idea?
Why does every fucking thread about contemporary art contain a comment like this. I bet someone stood in front of Michelangelo's David and went, "Really? Is that what they're doing nowadays?"
posted by fullerine at 8:37 AM on December 18, 2012 [10 favorites]


This is the equivalent of Michelangelo?
posted by Brocktoon at 8:42 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


My wife and I stood in front of that piece for probably twenty-five minutes

don't you guys have jobs or something
posted by elizardbits at 8:47 AM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


I find when approaching contemporary art, its useful to consider how much less impressive the work would be if it were merely an advert for something rather than presented as a piece of art.

On the other hand, I enjoy art galleries more when I pretend to myself that everything is slightly more interesting than it really is. You have to be prepared to invest time and attention, I suppose.
posted by memebake at 8:55 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Most of the meaning in modern art is tied up in the history and influences that led to whatever piece you end up squinting at in the museum. I appreciate my trips to MoMA much more when I read up on the exhibits beforehand, to understand how a given piece is an artist pushing the format that little bit much further in a new direction, based on all of the art to come before it.

Looking at a piece as a representation of the concepts and intertwining history and influences behind it, combined with how it captures a moment in culture, with all that context, I started to enjoy MoMA tremendously. It's really less about the trashbag meticulously cast in bronze and painted to look exactly like a trash bag, and more about why it's there that can make modern art compelling (rather than/in addition to being wtf).
posted by BigJen at 8:57 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is the equivalent of Michelangelo?

Why not?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:59 AM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


No visible penis
posted by Greg Nog at 9:05 AM on December 18, 2012 [9 favorites]


It's missing the swipe of your thumb brushing the glass as you toss the device down in frustration.
posted by drezdn at 9:07 AM on December 18, 2012


This will not get me any further.

I admit to feeling a bit deceived as well. I thought this was going to be a shocking expose on the secret easter egg that beats every level of Angry Birds. I haven't played it much myself, but I would love to see that sacred cow disemboweled. (It just seems like a shitty little Flash game. Why the fuss?! Farmville has run its course, right? When does AB's comeuppance occur?)

I enjoy art galleries more when I pretend to myself that everything is slightly more interesting than it really is.

As I get older, I'm beginning to think more and more that our aesthetic preferences are purely subjective, meaning the things we like are the things we decide to like and nothing more. There is no good or bad, just the things we decide to pay attention to and be interested in. If you really want to like an artist, you can do it. Hell, I like Jeff Koons.

To be honest, the problem I have with Ser Roth's work here is that it seems more like infographic than art. Or some sociological/gaming experiment. I'm into generative devices, but I'd just as soon he free-thumbed these.

For me here, there's a disconnect between the generative device (AB) and the finished "art." The paintings are not horrible, but they don't say much to me, and the AB tie-in seems gimmicky. /my2artc
posted by mrgrimm at 9:16 AM on December 18, 2012


perhaps, when we’re using not only our fingers but our palms, nails, and knuckles

It's called LIVING you thrall.
posted by deo rei at 9:17 AM on December 18, 2012


At any rate, I find this really neat on the level of Idea -- the artist is making visible a process that is supposed to be invisible, and supposed to be taken for granted. It shows us the remnants of the unconscious structure underlying a process, which is also my favorite thing about reading modernist writers like Joyce -- the artist attempting to depict the fullness of reality by focusing on the churning mass of movements/thoughts that give rise to our intentional actions, like speech, or in Ulysses's case, HJs, or in this case, winning a level of a video game.

Beyond that, on a visual aesthetic level, I find these very pretty; they remind me a bit of calligraphy, the organic artifact of a brushstroke. With all of them together, it looks like some kind of proto-alphabet, and I find it charming in a spare, quiet way.

So, since I am the ultimate arbiter of whether something is Good or Bad Art, I hereby proclaim it Good (objectively) and we can now all move on.
posted by Greg Nog at 9:20 AM on December 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


(It just seems like a shitty little Flash game. Why the fuss?! Farmville has run its course, right? When does AB's comeuppance occur?)

There is nothing amazing about it in terms of game design, but it's a fun little time-waster and you can have it on your phone, which is smaller and much less suspect than bringing a book or magazine with you when you get up from your desk.

Which is to say: Angry Birds is really nothing more than a game to be played while you're on the toilet, but it is absolutely perfect for that.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:25 AM on December 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Which is to say: Angry Birds is really nothing more than a game to be played while you're on the toilet, but it is absolutely perfect for that.

Why Angry Birds and not, say, Wire Hang Redux? (or Temple Run, etc.) That's my question. Is it the sheeplish nature of consumers or is there something specific to Angry Birds that makes it so good.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:36 AM on December 18, 2012


Artillery games are just better.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:42 AM on December 18, 2012


Why Angry Birds and not, say, Wire Hang Redux? (or Temple Run, etc.) That's my question. Is it the sheeplish nature of consumers or is there something specific to Angry Birds that makes it so good.

Angry Birds is a genuinely brilliant game for small touch devices, its not just a fad. Here's my take:
* Only occasional user input is required, mostly the user is watching things happen. That makes it great for trains, casual play etc.
* Good, intuitive use of touch (pull back an elastic thing and watch it fly)
* Catapulting things into things is fun
* Games that use our innate sense of gravity/physics are fun (the parabolas the birds make as they fly, the 2-d physics that controls how the structures fall apart - this is stuff our brains just 'get') ref: Tetris played horizontally instead of vertically is much harder because of our innate understanding of 'falling'
* very light difficulty gradient and loads of levels
posted by memebake at 9:45 AM on December 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also,

* its a physics sim game - a fairly new thing in the 30 year history of computer games - but one with a very simple and intuitive interface (as opposed to, say, Fantastic Contraption)
posted by memebake at 9:48 AM on December 18, 2012


I will just take this opportunity to say that Bad Piggies is a lot of fun and 100% better than Angry Birds. Much less blind trial and error involved, more room for creativity and experimenting, and getting full stars is much more clear in terms of showing you in advance exactly what your goal is.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:50 AM on December 18, 2012


it seems more like infographic than art.

I'm kind of cool with infographics in art. A clever infographic can give you a new perspective on something you would otherwise take for granted. That seems to me a tool that should be embraced by art.
posted by RobotHero at 10:02 AM on December 18, 2012


Why Angry Birds and not, say, Wire Hang Redux? (or Temple Run, etc.) That's my question. Is it the sheeplish nature of consumers or is there something specific to Angry Birds that makes it so good.

Both of these are a bit more twitchy and action-oriented and neither provide the pleasant atavistic rush of knocking over a big tower of blocks, is my guess. Temple Run is fun but it's essentially an action game which requires constant engagement. With Angry Birds, you pull the slingshot back and you launch and then just watch, pretty much. Also it's level-based, which is a huge factor and something it has in common with a lot of the other most-downloaded mobile games: you can stop what you're doing and put it down at the drop of a hat and not really lose much of anything.

Like I say, it's not an earth-shaking leap forward in game design, but it's good and it has a handful of qualities that make it quite suited to the mobile gaming market.

That said: "sheeplish?" Come on. If you're really champing at the bit to see a sacred cow disemboweled, kindly consider that disliking something because it's popular is not any different from liking something because it's popular. Play it if you want to and don't if you don't. The world will keep spinning either way, I promise.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:09 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I was hoping that someone had figured out one gesture that I could use to beat every level.

Fingerprint over power button.
posted by FatherDagon at 10:27 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


The only winning move is to not not to play

Thanks for that. I know I'm being annoying here but I feel I must point out that that was a phone typo, not ignorance. I may not have much of a reputation, but if I'm pop-culture sloppy, I'll have even less.

This is the equivalent of Michelangelo?

Why not?
posted by shakespeherian at 10:59 AM on December 18

No visible penis
posted by Greg Nog at 11:05 AM on December 18


Related thought: The fact that there aren't touch screen games that are meant to be played with your penis = we're not in the future yet.

(Only true art can inspire such important thoughts.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:42 AM on December 18, 2012


Draw Something could be, though.
posted by elizardbits at 10:53 AM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Penis Something (tm)?
posted by Night_owl at 10:56 AM on December 18, 2012


Prick something, natch.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 11:15 AM on December 18, 2012


Dong Something.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 11:17 AM on December 18, 2012


Right now it tends to be Draw Schlongthing.
posted by Kabanos at 11:47 AM on December 18, 2012


Bah! Clearly derivative of the seminal Microsoft Freecell Solution Catalog.
posted by zamboni at 12:18 PM on December 18, 2012


Please plan to attend the world premiere of my new installation, The Destruction of Dr. Zomboss.
posted by steambadger at 1:38 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


We don't actually discuss it, or reflect upon what it might mean.

Well, maybe you don't.
posted by malapropist at 5:46 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, I enjoy art galleries more when I pretend to myself that everything is slightly more interesting than it really is.

For me, this is actually a huge, huge part of the function of art galleries, as I found out when I accidentally spent 20 minutes thoughtfully examining a hygrometer.

Realising that it wasn't in fact, art, and what that told me about art objects, the institutions that display and curate art, and the aesthetic value of the purely functional was the most interesting experience I had in the gallery that day.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 9:08 PM on December 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is the equivalent of Michelangelo?

Why not?


Because Sistine Chapel.
posted by Brocktoon at 8:41 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is a timely link for me as I just hit the dubious great achievement of 5+ hours playing Angry Birds Star Wars. For the record, the $2.98 I've spent on it was completely worth it for:
- the Birdified movie art, especially tiny roguish Han Bird Solo
- the staticky radio grunt-chatter of the Stormtrooper Pigs
- the voice effects for the C-3P0 Bird, who sounds exactly like C-3P0 should were he flung unwillingly into space and exploded (while also being a bird)

Basically what I mean is if an Angry Birds Star Wars cartoon movie is in the works, I will be there opening day.
posted by nicebookrack at 11:28 AM on December 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I likes it.
posted by P.o.B. at 9:33 PM on December 19, 2012


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