More processing capacity, more bandwidth, more definition lines, more polygons, more pixels. Faster and more real. "More" is the magic word that hardware manufacturers constantly offer their best customers, those who explore the crossroad between creation and technology. And there is no form of digital creativity more obsessed with technological development than videogames. An industry that lives on the cyclical revolutions that take place every time a new processor or a new generation of super-consoles is launched.

However, from the opposite direction to this philosophy there is a whole subversive movement, a school of critical thinking. Facing the millions of polygons per second that last-generation videogames consoles are able to generate, - enough to create real-time movies which required million dollar super-computers four years ago -, some demand the aesthetics of eight-bit microcomputers from twenty years ago, the charming MSX, Commodores 64 or ZX Spectrum. Facing the extreme naturalism of "more and more real", the abstraction and iconic simplicity of mythical games such as Pong or Space Invaders. Facing PS2 or Xbox and graphic accelerator cards, the flexibility of affordable technologies such as Flash, Shockwave or the modification of commercial games.

A whole generation of digital artists, independent videogame creators and information designers has begun to accept the challenge. To overcome the obsession with technology as the only way to generate new concepts and aesthetics to take the form back to its basic principles.
Demanding the elements which depict above all the art of game creation: the attraction of a first experience, playability and what British writer Stephen Poole calls amplification of input. The instant pleasure coming from making things happen in the world on the other side of the monitor just by pressing a key.

Going beyond the fetishization of technology, the return to origins has an additional justification. The list of subjects, motifs and forms offered every season by the electronic entertainment industry is more and more foreseeable and weary. With a few and punctual exceptions, the most sophisticated graphic accelerators and the last-generation consoles are used to generate more race simulators. Even more gothic mansions and space stations. More never-ending corridors to cover carrying a machine gun in your hand. The industry devoted to succeed Hollywood as the big purveyor of entertainment for the masses can stand alongside the Mecca of motion pictures in creative conservatism and lack of risk. It is not strange then that many of us remember the age of micro-consoles and eight-bit computers, two decades ago, as a golden creative era where we rushed to explore the world contained in every Atari 2600 cartridge because it promised a brand new experience.

It is not just a question of nostalgia or a need to revise our origins. EIGHTTIMESEIGHT presents the work of eight creators who research, speculate and take risks to try to find among the old technology remains this sense of purity and truth associated with simplicity and minimal expression.

EIGHTTIMESEIGHT also tries to suggest new approaches about the relationship between videogames and digital art. At first, some digital artists approach electronic entertainment intending exclusively to modify already existing titles in order to superimpose a political, feminist or, for example, antiglobalization discourse, rejecting the qualities which make games an autonomous form of creation.

Nowadays it becomes usual that prestigious names in digital creation - Entropy8Zuper, Anne Marie Schleiner, Eric Zimmerman himself - accept the challenge to create videogames from scratch and from inside, assuming their rules and coexisting with the titles produced in the commercial field. Introducing in them at the same time new cultural and aesthetic codes. We can be at the beginning of a new era where electronic art and videogames, during a long time not communicated, are not longer considered completely different spheres of contemporary creation. Thus, they can be seen as what they are: another genre of digital arts. The most popular and accessible one, but also one of the most important.


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