The exhibition, referred to as “the most painful in the world”, has been visited during its previous presentations, among others, in Cracow, Berlin, Frankfurt, Budapest, Vilnius, Prague, Lublana, Tallin and Košice by over 100 000 pleased viewers. Now at the WRO Art Center.
You could do with the sense of humour and irony to perceive the show. The interactive objects and installations that make up this exhibition – a kind of machines to play with the audience – encourage to have some fun, at the same time, however, they critically reveal mechanisms of mediated interactions.
A computer game that punishes mistakes with real pain, a voice-controlled ball-dropper labyrinth, a stock exchange simulator, a universal speech reciter… Volker Morawe and Tilman Reiff a.k.a. //////////fur//// want to make art physically tangible – and that outside the comfort zone.
The no pain no game exhibition focuses on tactile interfaces and invites the audience to come into a direct physical contact with the works, to reconsider game mechanisms, or even make some effort. Their quick-witted instruments are exploring the boundaries between human beings and their gadgets: smartphones, video game consoles, operating systems, the Internet, or the mechanisms used by stockbrokers and politicians.
“PainStation”, a sort of modern dueling artifact, is considered a milestone and taboo-breaker in media art: the first-ever computer game that does not merely represent pain visually, but actually causes physical pain. Even if the other works presented as part of the exhibition provoke less drastic feelings, what they all have in common is that merely viewing them will not suffice in order to fully experience them. Only visitors who summon up enough courage to enter into this new kind of interaction will, for a time, become part of the installation: there is no game without pain!
Perceived by some as “artistic sadists”, the duo //////////fur////: Volker Morawe and Tilman Reiff are media artists and art critics, gadget artists and game designers whose works polarize, provoke and enthrall, and have won prestigious international awards, including the Japan Media Arts Award (2003), an Ars Electronica honorable mention (2002) and the International Media Art Award of the ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe (2003).
Volker Morawe comes from Bremen, was previously a space electronics specialist and producer of musical hits. Tilman Reiff is originally from Munich, an IT specialist focusing on interface design. The two met at the Kunsthochschule für Medien in Köln, and since then have created extraordinary installations that not only invite play, but also, above all, go against the grain of media interaction mechanisms.
The opening reception has been prepared with Food Think Tank, Wroclaw-based collective of culinary activists that has already made two picnics with WRO Art Center: „Tomato” and „I’m green”.
The exhibition no pain no game was developed by //////////fur//// and commissioned by the Goethe-Institut. In Wrocław, it is presented within the framework of the 2016 Polish-German anniversary project WE CELEBRATE! organized by the Goethe-Institut and the German Embassy on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the signing of Treaty of Good Neighbourhood and Friendly Cooperation.
Amazing is a voice-controlled ball-dropper labyrinth. You can tilt the surface of the labyrinth by changing the pitch of the sound you produce. Only in this way you can steer the ball through the labyrinth to its destination!
The game is designed for two or more players. Each of you controls one axis of the playing field by singing an OOO sound into the mike. Have a singing trial run beforehand and see which way will the board tilt if you sing a high- or a low-pitched sound. With the switch on the stem of the microphone, you can set the parameters of the game to your voice (players with low voices should set the switch to LO and children or other players with relatively high voices – to HI). Now take the ball out of its parked position and place it at the starting point.
Watch out: there are a number of traps along the way. If the ball falls into one of these holes, you must start over from the beginning! And remember: do not touch the mobile frame with your hands! Instead, listen to each other carefully and cooperate with one another.
the ////furer//// is a universal speech-reciter that reproduces the most varied speeches of charismatic leading thinkers, political string-pullers, unscrupulous dictators and religious reformers, using sound-synchronised mouth and arm movements. Who will recognise the speakers? What the speech turns out to be in retrospect? A false promise? A great lie? A crass faux pas? Clumsy self-glorification? Or perhaps an epoch-making revelation?
By turning the switch, you can select up to five different speeches on each ////furer////. Listen carefully and make up your own mind.
The Golden Calf traditionally stands for the worship of a false deity; it was made by Aaron during Moses’ absence. The Israelites, only recently having escaped slavery in Egypt, put all the gold they possessed into the building of an idolatrous statue, thereby also losing their true, spiritual values.
The installation has been devised as a reminiscence of the events happening on the stock market and the spectacular failure of America’s largest investment banks in recent years. Contemporary stock exchanges are becoming more and more symbolic in character. The majority of transactions are beginning to take place via computer. The share price itself is also arrived at electronically. Thus, frequent price distortions are almost completely beyond control.
The game is designed for 1-3 players. Log in on a free iPad and begin to get rich! Using your start-up capital, buy and sell shares using the BUY and SELL buttons. Multiply your trade volume using X2 and X4 buttons. Follow the current share price, numbers of shares and their value in the top part of the installation. There you can also check your rating and your account balance. Pay attention to the breaking news ticker running across the bottom, since, alongside supply and demand, this is another factor that affects such stock market sectors as ENERGY, HEALTH, LUXURY, WEAPONS and ART. After the stock market year (365 seconds) has elapsed, the game ends and the “Broker of the Year” is announced.
If you ever dreamed to be a rock star, then MoshPit will help you realise your fantasy. Spotlights, strobe lights, smoke and pyrotechnics will pull you straight into the epicenter of a metal concert. A volcanic eruption of sound triggers ecstatic Armageddon. Jump into mosh and get carried away: it’s time for an insane headbanging.
The game is designed for 1-2 players. When you hear the music, start vigorously shaking your head in front of the amplifier. You can observe the volume level of vocals, bass, drums and guitar on four indicators. As you mosh on, you can change the individual volume level of the instruments through your headbanging style and intensity. The aim of the game is to get the maximum volume on all indicators.
“OIS” is an anagram of the well-known operating system installed on smartphones and other mobile communication devices (iOS).
OIS is a peculiar one-way interaction sculpture, which serves as an ironic response to online communication. In the OIS environment, it is the network user, and not the viewer in the gallery, paradoxically, that controls the reality.
You’ve got to TURN OFF the lamp. When the lamp is on, you can turn it off by turning the switch counterclockwise. But beware: you CAN’T TURN IT ON again! (Don’t try to do this by force!) TURNING ON is only possible in the virtual world. To do this, scan the QR code using your smartphone or go directly to aoys.zkm.de/ois. There, you can turn the lamp on again and see yourself or your friends via webcam.
The best-known work to date of the //////////fur//// duo, honoured with the International Media Art Award by the ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe in 2002. PainStation is a new version of the cult video game Pong from 1972.
The game is designed for two players. Settle in on the opposite sides of the desktop and press with your left hand the PAIN EXECUTION UNIT button. With the right hand on the knob, navigate plank-shaped rackets back and forth to hit the virtual ball back. Beware: each ball missed runs the risk of being punished by the heat, electric shocks, or whiplashes! If you withdraw your hand from the PAIN EXECUTION UNIT button, you’ll lose the game. You are playing at your own risk!
SnakePit is based on the Hyper-Wurm computer game from 1979, which in the 1990s was pre-installed under the name of Snake on many mobile phones. At that time, one had to use the keyboard to navigate a voracious snake towards emerging tasty titbits. With each bite, the snake became longer and risked meeting the tip of its own tail while looking for the way to the next portions. Such an encounter meant the end of the game. //////////fur//// transforms this mini-screen-sized action into a real-life running track.
The game is designed for 2-4 players or two teams of players. It’s high time you left your smartphone and jumped off the sofa! Get on your track and guide your snake to the green squares by pressing red and yellow foot buttons placed at the edge of the playing field. Make your snake the longest possible! Be careful it does not collide with other snake(s)! And do not let it go off the field either.