Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The End

 I took a lot of pictures of our final meeting, and just realized I hadn't even posted any. This is one of them. The final meeting was really fun, and hilarious, and I had a great semester with all of you guys. Thanks for everything.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Second Life Progress 2

This is my normal self. Still have to change the face a bit, but this is pretty much done. I started on the fantasy self but not much is done with that one yet.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Final Essay - Nullsleep & Robert Overweg


^   Robert Overweg

     Nullsleep and Robert Overweg are artists who have a love for video games.  Both are digital artists with an interest in video games, but they are also different in their mediums and what they do. Nullsleep creates his own 8 bit “Gameboy” style music. He is a chiptune artist that actually uses old video game consoles and computer keyboards to create his music. Robert Overweg is a virtual photographer that takes snapshots of certain subjects in video games, like glitches and other things that may go unnoticed to most while playing a game.While both of their subjects are similar, what they do is very different.

     Nullsleep, also known as Jerimiah Johnson, is a chiptune artist.  Right now he lives in New York City and has performed over 150 shows throughout North America, Europe and Asia, including successful world tours in 2006 and 2009.  In 1999, Nullsleep cofounded 8bitpeoples, a collective of artists interested in the audio-visual aesthetics of early home computers and video game consoles. 
     Nullsleep usually performs on a couple of Game Boys and Game Boy Colors that are hooked up to a QWERTY keyboard to create his own music.  Marc Flores had a chance to speak with Nullsleep and asked what drew him to 8-bit music in the face of the constant forward march of audio technology. Nullsleep replied, “For me, it has a lot to do with the challenge of it. Pushing the limits of old tech and trying to make it do things that it never intended to do is something that I find really rewarding” (Flores). 

     Nullsleep creates his own music, albums and singles. The piece Galaxy Tonite is one of the more popular of his works. It has two versions, a Nintendo Entertainment System version and a Nintendo Game Boy version. The Game Boy version, Galaxy Tonite DMG, is part of one of his albums titled Unconditional Acceleration.  This is what the album was about, “Nullsleep emerges from the darkness with Unconditional Acceleration – an exploration of romance and tragedy in the 21st century. Five songs, limitless intensity. Ecstatic bursts of cascading waveforms race toward uncertainty. A feeling of ever increasing separation develops. Unattainable distances are approached and sheets of white noise issue forth from the fissures of an obsessively restructured reality. The sound surrenders in memory of another time and place, to which we can never return” ( Looking into this piece further, the Game Boy version of Galaxy Tonite was used in a video game called Bit.Trip Void, a game released for the Wii through Wiiware. I tried contacting Nullsleep about Galaxy Tonite, asking if there was anything in particular that inspired him to do this piece. He did not respond.

     Robert Overweg is a Dutch photographer and a photographer in the virtual world, who explores the "fading" border between the virtual and physical. He takes photographs of certain moments such as glitches and scenery in video games, moments that we might otherwise not notice. "Moments where game designers intentionally elevate certain moments in the games by creating special effects, Overweg captures the beauty in the blanks, glitches and the left overs and the digitally abandoned" (Visnjic).  Overweg’s interest is usually in first person, and some third person, shooters. Games like Left 4 Dead 2, Half-life 2, Counter-Strike and Modern Warfare 2. 

The End of the Virtual World


     This list of games makes up a series of his titled “The End of the Virtual World”. The artist statement is, “This series of photographs originates from four popular first person shooter games (Left 4 dead 2, Half-life 2, counter-strike and modern warfare 2) Unlike you might think the virtual world is not round like the physical world but flat with hard-cut edges. These photographs show us how the virtual world ends. What I find interesting about these photographs is that they behold a certain dramatic almost classical feel to them playing with our real life experiences but cut off.  By taking the photographs out of their context of the virtual world and blowing them up in a size of 144cm by 81cm (or larger) the typical aesthetics of games are laid bare. At first glance the photograph seems to represent the physical world really well. After further inspection you might see the identical air conditioners on the roof both have the exact same rust and scratch marks, the brick pattern on the wall on the right has non fitting patterns. The most obvious example is the two colliding roads whom are pasted together.” (Overweg).

     Looking into what others thought about the series, John De Weerd was fascinated with the photographs. “In his series The End of the Virtual World Robert Overweg shows us a remarkable series of photographs which he took in four different computer games. They show us the end of the virtual world in a way which is sometimes presented to us to determine the border of the game or level. All photographs have the same vanishing point, straight in the center of the image, almost in a classical manner, as we have learnt in elementary school which told us what perspective is, with two lines going into one point on the horizon in between which you draw a railway track. This may be the case here but there is more going on: the air is cloudy, the light is dramatic, the corners are sharp, the horizon is invisible. We stand at the edge of an abyss or in front of the beginning of a black tunnel. This does not mean that these worlds have a dreamy feel to them maybe this is because of the moment and the way this landscape is sculpted. A road which has been cut off, a field of grass which suddenly stops or a railway which abruptly disappears into nothing; something which would not happen in daily reality or is not visible. Because these images are artificial and behold a high aesthetic value, they are able to breathe; the drama is somewhat toned down” (Weerd).  The way the photographs are set up literally shows the "end of the virtual world" in which these pictures take place in. You can immediately see how the world just cuts off and ends, and understand what this series is about.
     In relation to the readings, there is a relation to how Nullsleep creates his music in the reading from The Shallows . The paragraph from the reading mentions how things started advancing, like how people started using factories and market places to get things rather than fields. Technology advanced. This is shown in Nullsleep’s work, how he created these devices to use to make his music from a Game Boy or a Nintendo Entertainment system, and a computer keyboard rather than a more common instrument, or something that is actually used to create music. He wanted to do something different and created his own instruments with the devices he is interested in. 
     You can also say the same about Overweg's work. Instead of being just a traditional film photographer, or a digital photographer, he is also a photographer in the virtual world, taking photographs of fantasy rather than reality. Without the advancement of technology, this would not have been possible. Also, the games he usually uses for his work have incredibly detailed and realistic graphics. At first glance you may think that it is a picture of a scene in reality, when in reality it is not.
     In conclusion, both of these people are successful artists that are doing what they want to do. They both have an interest in video games and base their work on them. However, Nullsleep works with audio, being a chiptune musician, while Robert Overweg deals with visual art, being a photographer.  They both took what they wanted to do and went even further. Nullsleep created his own devices to create his music and Overweg is a photographer in the virtual world.  It is amazing how far technology has come, and what other things can possibly change or advance in the future.

Works Cited

Flores, Marc. "Name That Chiptune: The Growing Niche of 8-bit Music." TechCrunch RSS. 8 Dec. 2006. Web. 29 Nov. 2012. <>. 

Johnson, Jerimiah. Nullsleep | 8bitpeoples. 8bitpeoples. Web. 29 Nov. 2012. <>. Web. 29 Nov. 2012. <>.

Overweg, Robert. Dreams of Reality. Web. 1 Dec. 2012. <>.

Overweg, Robert. "The End of the Virtual World." Shot By Robert. Web. 1 Dec. 2012.

Visnjic, Filip. "Robert Overweg [Profile, Games]." Creative Applications Network. 24 Aug. 2010. Web. 1 Dec. 2012. <>.

Weerd, John De. "The End of the Virtual World." Shot By Robert. Web. 1 Dec. 2012. <>.