American 'girl gamer' artist and theorist, Mary Flanagan will be working as Artist in Residence at HTTP, Furtherfield's Gallery and lab space in Spring 2006. As part of the residency HTTP Gallery has commissioned [giantJoystick] for the Game/Play exhibition, a national touring exhibition, in collaboration with Q-Arts (now Quad), Derby, which explores goal-orientated gaming and playful interaction in media arts practice.
[giantJoystick] offers a humorous reworking of the multi-player game. Visitors are invited to collectively play classic arcade games with a nine foot tall joystick modelled after the Atari 2600 one. The competitive goals of these classic arcade games are already familiar, however the dramatic change in scale of the joystick necessitates both an encounter of the whole body with the artwork and cooperation between a number of players in order to reach them.
Mary Flanagan is an artist, author, educator, and designer. Known for her theories on playculture, activist design, and critical play, Flanagan has achieved international acclaim for her novel interdisciplinary work, her commitment to a theory/practice dialogue, and contributions to social justice design arenas. Her research examines the boundaries between the personal and the public, perception, power, and what technology can teach people about themselves. Using the formal language of the computer program or game to create systems which interrogate seemingly mundane experiences such as writing email, using search engines, playing video games, or saving data to the hard drive, Flanagan reworks these activities to blur the line between the social uses of technology, and what these activities tell us about the technology user themselves. Her artwork ranges from game based systems to computer viruses, embodied interfaces to interactive texts; these works are exhibited internationally at venues including the Laboral Art Center, Whitney, SIGGRAPH, Beall Center, The Banff Centre, The Moving Image Center, Steirischer Herbst, Ars Electronica, Artist’s Space, Guggenheim, Incheon Digital Arts Festival, and and venues in Brazil, France, UK, Canada, Taiwan, New Zealand, and Australia.