That ethic pushed him to examine Nintendo cartridges. Davis was reprogramming one to make music, which didn’t interest Arcangel at all until he realized he could also use the system to make videos.
“I’m not so good at computers,” says Arcangel, who admits to getting “like a 40” on his computer science final. “Nintendo is old enough that someone like me can really get in there and figure it out.”
Arcangel left Oberlin after graduation and arrived in New York with assembled videos, hacks, and projects, uncertain they served any purpose other than entertaining his friends and taking up space on his hard drive. He then went to a show at a contemporary gallery and realized that his work did indeed have a home. He tapped into New York’s new media arts community and rose from there.
The past year has been particularly successful; equally important is having fun. During his Whitney Biennial performance last spring, Arcangel unveiled his latest project, “Pizza Party,” a text-based software program for ordering pizza over the Internet. In front of the audience, Arcangel explained the program, then sat down and ordered pizza. The program’s other artists performed, and at the end of the night, Arcangel returned to the stage to announce that the pizza had arrived. The program, which is free from the Beige records site, was instantly popular. More than 3,000 people have downloaded it, and it is the number-two result for a Google search of the words “pizza party.”
In 2005, he has solo exhibitions lined up in London, Stockholm, Zurich, and at Team Gallery in New York. “I’m too new at it to know what the future will bring,” Arcangel says, though a number-one Google rating for Pizza Party would be nice. “My only hope would be that if I have some wicked idea I want to do, I could do it. If I wanted to do something with a million Christmas lights, I probably could.”
And he might. His vision is typically whimsical and interesting: Christmas lights that would blink on and off to reveal an image … of a house with Christmas lights. l
Visit http://www.beigerecords.com/cory for more information.
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