Misplaced Reliquary : 2004 Rhizome.org Commission Proposal
Submitted by: Paul Catanese


Misplaced Reliquary: Project Description
A handheld personal cabinet of curiosity. A collection of rodent's bones, avian beaks and papery carapaces. They are sloughed, dropped or exposed and the game lies in collection. Not collection within a machine or some bitmapped construct, but collection that occurs within the field, on the hunt for misplaced relics of the animal saintyard. This collection of relics and their holy travels will be catalouged and contained within a virtual repository which will take the form of a gameboy advance ROM that can be viewed and "played" online. In addition, instructions will be given for downloading the ROM file itself and installing on gameboy advance hardware. Finally, an artist's edition of 5 game cartridges will be created as well.

"I became interested in the idea of approaching game appliances in a state pre-literate of the aesthetic and cultural baggage of which they are commonly associated. This approach toward the subject matter is not mirrored in the other movements mentioned, where the aesthetics and culture of video games are often critiqued or commented upon. For me, the appropriation of technology is about rethinking its use, creating hybrids that are not so easily contained, explained or pigeonholed. This is precisely what is attractive about working on hybrids to me: they defy classification and must be met on their own terms. Without a lexicon or prior conceptual framework to draw upon, the ideas must hold themselves up all on their own." (for a full version of this essay, please look here)




Related Work

Super Ichthyologist Advance



Fish Histories




Curriculum Vitae
Paul Catanese

Education
School of the Art Institute of Chicago 1998 – 2000
Master of Fine Arts, Art & Technology

State University of New York at Geneseo 1993 – 1997
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Theatre Design

Professional Experience
Assistant Professor August 2003 – Present
New Media Design, Design and Industry Department
San Francisco State University - San Francisco, California

President May 2000 – Present
Skeletonmoon, Inc. - Chicago, Illinois

Instructor January 2000 – May 2003
Art & Technology Department
School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) - Chicago, Illinois

Instructor August 2002 – May 2003
Museum of Contemporary Art - Chicago, Illinois

Instructor August 1999 – May 2001
Academic Computing Department
Columbia College - Chicago, Illinois

Instructor August 1998 – December 1999
Art Department
Harold Washington College (HWC) - Chicago, Illinois

Instructor May 1999 – January 2002
Mac University - Chicago Illinois

Grants & Awards
2004 Turbulence.org Net Art Commission
2003 Kala Art Insitute Artist in Residence Fellowship
2003 Association for Multimedia Communications Award
2002 Macromedia Site of the Day Award
2001 Columbia College Technology Fellowship
1998 New York Foundation for the Arts Grant
1996 Suny Geneseo Foundation Fellowship
1995 Suny Geneseo Foundation Grant

Screening & Exhibition Record
2003 Level Up Games Conference Utrecht, Netherlands
2003 New Forms Festival Vancouver, Canada
2003 Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, IL
2003 The Irish Museum of Modern Art Dublin, Ireland
2003 Chiang Mai New Media Art Festival Chiang Mai, Thailand
2003 Stuttgarter Filmwinter Stuttgarter, Germany
2003 RRF Festival Cologne, Germany
2003 Istanbul 2003 Web Biennale Istanbul, Turkey
2002 Villette Numerique Paris, France
2002 Artmedia 2002 Buenos Aires, Argentina
2002 Strange Fruits Amsterdam, Netherlands
2002 Digital Interactive Artist’s Network New York, NY
2002 Whalelane New York, NY
2002 MediaHexa Art Festival Korean Media Arts Festival
2001 roARaTorio Festival Paris, France
2001 Planet Art Heneglo, Netherlands
2001 Het Wilde Wetten Rotterdam, Netherlands
2001 Personal Vision Festival Kobe, Japan
2001 CinemaTexas Outdoor Film Series Austin, TX
2001 Fountainhead Lounge Atlanta, GA
2001 Newport Beach Film Festival Newport Beach, CA
2001 Multimedia Microcinema. Skopje, Macedonia
2001 Zero Room Monterrey, Mexico
2001 Bellevue Art Museum Bellevue, WA
2001 MiniCine Shreveport, LA
2001 Washington Psychotronic Film Society Washington, DC.
2001 Zeitgeist Gallery Cambridge, MA
2001 2oth - CRASH Film Festival Mexico City, Mexico.
2001 Video Balagan Boston, MA
2001 Cleveland Public Theater Cleveland, OH
2001 Angelika Film Center New York City, NY
2001 26th Flicks on 66 Festival Albuquerque, NM
2001 2nd Annual Vancouver Film Festival Victoria, BC, Canada
2001 Expresion en Corto Film Festival Guanajuato, Mexico.
2001 ANIMAC01 Barcelona, Spain
2001 Horscircuit Recontres Festival Paris/Berlin
2000 “Bliss” – Inside Art Gallery Chicago IL (catalogue)
2000 St. Balbach Art Production Vienna, Austria
2000 IndieKino Seoul, Korea
2000 Crash Audiovisual Festival Mexico City, Mexico
2000 OvarVideo Ovar, Portugal (catalogue)
2000 Wollongong Film Festival Wollongong, Australia
2000 Enter Multimediale Festival Prague, Austria
2000 Commencement Art Gallery Tacoma, Washington
2000 Cineteca Nacional Mexico City, Mexico
2000 Chopo Festival Chopo, Mexico
2000 Chinsegut Film & Video Festival Tampa, Florida
2000 Neues Kino Basel, Switzerland
1999 Center on Contemporary Art Seattle, WA
1999 Ukranian Museum of Modern Art Chicago, IL (catalogue)
1999 School of the Art Institute of Chicago Chicago, IL (thesis show)
1999 ArtWindows Chicago, IL
1999 Union Street Gallery Chicago, IL
1999 Independent Exposure Seattle, WA
1999 Zeitgeist Art and Coffee Seattle, WA
1999 Psychotronic Film Festival Washington DC
1999 DayDream Theatre Washington DC
1999 Bar Garsouille Caen, France
1999 ANIMAC99 Llieda, Spain
1999 L'Alternativa'99 Barcelona, Spain
1999 Estonian Film Festival Tallinn, Estonia
1999 Bangkok Experimental Film Festival Bangkok, Thailand
1998 Casa Guatamala Chicago, IL
1998 Saratoga Springs Public Library Saratoga, NY

Publication History
2001 Director’s Third Dimension: Fundamentals of 3D programming in Director 8.5
Published October 2001, QUE Publishing, 914pgs, CD-ROM

2001 Vector Math (is not the tool of satan)
Published November 2001, director-online.com

2001 Working with Random Vectors
Published December 2001, director-online.com

2000 Introduction to EZIO (alternative input devices)
Published December 2000, director-online.com

Visiting Artist Lectures
2004 Guest Lecturer at San Francisco State University
Invited to speak to the Conceptual Information Arts Deptartment regarding art practice

2002 Guest Lecturer at Northern Illinois University
Invited to speak at the Design Events Series

Presentation: Art Process in the Technological Studio
Guest Lecturer CSCIE17 at Harvard Extension School

Presention: 3D Programming in Director 8.5
Guest Lecturer at Macromedia Headquarters, San Francisco

Presention: 3D Programming in Director 8.5
Guest Lecturer at the Boston Lingo Users Group
Presention: 3D Programming in Director 8.5

2001 Guest Lecturer at the Association for Multimedia Communications
Presention: 3D Programming in Director 8.5

Conferences
2003 Digital Games Research Conference, Utrecht, Netherlands
Paper: Where have all the video-game console artists gone?

New Forms Festival, Vancouver, Canada
Paper: Where have all the video-game console artists gone?
Work: Super Ichthyologist Advance

Power Up Festival, Bristol England
Paper: Where have all the video-game console artists gone?

Version 3 Festival, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago
Workshop: Creating artwork with the Gameboy Advance
Presented Work: Super Ichthyologist Advance

2002 Macromedia Devcon
Presented Paper: Real Time 3D Programming

1998 Association for Theater in Higher Education
Presented Paper: “Interactivity Vs. Reactivity”
Presented Work: “Glyphs”
On Panel: “Multimedia & Performance”

Bibliography
2003 Review: “Ins Netz gegangen: Fischtanks.” Stuttgarter Zeitung, www.stuttgarter-zeitung.de, April 22, 2003.
2002 Interview: Dredge, Stuart. “User Report Director 8.5.” Cre@teonline Magazine, Feb. 2002, 76-79.
Review: Ludovico, Alessandro. “Invisible Maps, cartografie dell'inconscio.” Neural Online, www.neural.it, April 2, 2002.
1999 Interview: Witter, David. “Animation’s Cutting Edge.” Fra Noi, Oct. 1999, 69, 106.

Professional Memberships

College Art Association
Association for Multimedia Communications

Video Distribution
Blackchair Productions / Microcinema International (San Francisco, CA)
Offline Networks (Ithaca, NY)

Websites
http://www.skeletonmoon.com
http://www.paulcatanese.com

RELATED ESSAY: Evolution of a GBA Artist

This essay will be published in March 2004 in the book: Computer Games and Art: Intersections and Interactions – edited by Grethe Mitchell and Andy Clarke as part of the Anomalie book series.

I had not set out to create artwork by appropriating the technology of video games. My use of the Gameboy Advance (GBA) as a framework for artistic expression evolved as an almost incidental result of an experience I had with a single-channel video installation I created in 2000 entitled Come Hither. This installation incorporated a short video loop of a beckoning finger displayed on a 3” LCD screen – an intimate format that forced the viewer to come within inches of the screen to experience the work one on one. While the realization of this project accomplished what I had hoped, the technical solution was far from adequate. In order to keep the video loop in constant motion I was required to rig a series of long cables that snaked through walls and over ceilings leading to remote VCR or DVD decks that only ensured a troublesome, laborious and inflexible installation. I came away from that piece with a question: can I create a compact device without any moving parts that can play short loops of video on a relatively small, flat screen? The best case would be a simple, self-contained unit that could be installed consistently and with a minimum of destruction to the gallery. This quest was met with many helpful and inventive suggestions, but it was increasingly obvious at the time that almost all of the solutions would require me to become an engineer to solve.

The answer came months later in an unrelated conversation. A close friend and game developer told me that he was creating custom video games for the GBA without a licensed development kit. Since I have some experience with game development from a professional standpoint, the implications of this were not opaque. As we discussed some of the difficulties of developing for the GBA it became clear that this device could potentially provide an answer to the technical issues raised in Come Hither. Clearly, a pre-existing and professionally engineered solution would be more stable than any device I might create on my own. The widespread availability and relatively inexpensive cost per unit also factored in as strengths in favor of experimenting with the device. Additionally, the fact that home-brew game developers had already reverse-engineered the device and were freely distributing development kits meant that I could begin exploring the artistic capacities in a tangible way in a matter of days, rather than months. I felt that the most difficult barriers that might stop me were out of the way. As with many experiments, this did not turn out to be entirely true, but I had already decided that it was worth pursuing to see what turned up.

At the time, I had several aquariums in my studio where I recorded the creatures with web-cams, listened to the sound of the tanks and generally pondered the world inside the glass. Aquatic creatures have long been a source of inspiration to me: the alien forms, vacant or invisible facial expressions imply internal dialogues, imaginary cultures and mythologies that percolate within my work. From my observations and experiments arose the interest to create virtual fish-tanks. Not simulations of aquariums, but enclosures that housed trapped fish or at least their lingering digital ghosts. The installation that resulted from these explorations became Super Ichthyologist Advance. Drawn to parallels with the collection of Pokemon, I felt that the device itself provided interesting associations – although I have since been looking for ways to distance my ideas from the GBA as purely a game device. In practice, the GBA offers a flexible solution to the technical issues raised in Come Hither, evidenced by Super Ichthyologist Advance, a flexible installation that can be set up in under ten minutes, regardless of venue.

In addition to sparking new areas of personal exploration, creating and exhibiting Super Ichthyologist Advance brought into focus for me several emerging artistic movements utilizing video-game aesthetics, technology and culture as a jumping off point for creative discourse. The Gameboy Advance is just one device in a vast sea of gaming appliances that litter living rooms, dormitories and backpacks. Whether home-consoles or portable devices, these appliances hold an iconic status to a generation of game players. Perhaps for this reason alone, there are a growing number of artists, researchers and experimentalists who are reinventing the conceptual boundaries for which these devices were first envisioned. Many are using the language, aesthetics and technology of video games to critique popular culture. Others have used them to create musical instruments, audio-visual noise generators or used the aesthetics of video game culture as a jumping off point for reflection within completely unrelated media forms.

I myself became interested in the idea of approaching game appliances in a state pre-literate of the aesthetic and cultural baggage of which they are commonly associated. This approach toward the subject matter is not mirrored in the other movements mentioned, where the aesthetics and culture of video games are often critiqued or commented upon. For me, the appropriation of technology is about rethinking its use, creating hybrids that are not so easily contained, explained or pigeonholed. This is precisely what is attractive about working on hybrids to me: they defy classification and must be met on their own terms. Without a lexicon or prior conceptual framework to draw upon, the ideas must hold themselves up all on their own.

There are critical issues raised by this approach toward rethinking the use for a technology so heavily burdened by itself. In contrast to Come Hither, where the device is a neutral vessel for my ideas that implies none of the conceptual baggage from its previous existence, the use of the GBA in Super Ichthyologist Advance is a different story. One idea kicked about involved reducing down to the essential electronics and building custom housing that would not appear to be a GBA at first glance – but the disembodied device would still show the inescapable Nintendo logo when starting up. Therefore I find myself at odds with my own purposes: to approach the game appliance in a state pre-literate of games themselves, using a device that inherently references games.

Intrinsic to any game appliance is the ability to accept and respond to user input, an aspect of the GBA that I had not considered exploring in Super Ichthyologist Advance. After gaining experience working with the GBA for displaying short video loops it became obvious that the inherent interactive aspects of the device were equally accessible on a technical level. What began as a solution for multi-channel video installations has grown into a wellspring of inspiration whereupon I find myself imagining galleries that fit in your pocket, personal handheld theatres, digital Cornell boxes and electronic books imbued with the intimacy of Chinese scroll paintings.

Played Online?
For the online display of this piece, I will be using a java-based gameboy advance emulator (boycott advance online) which allows for GBA ROMS to be played within a web browser.