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all photos: Tatiana Gulenkina

Last week, American Art Museum opened its WATCH THIS! Revelations in Media Art exhibit, and DC’s art world came together to help them celebrate. The 44 works of art on display, curated by Michael Mansfield, represent pioneering and often subversive approaches to some of the most popular mediums out there: film clips, music installations, 3D effects and video games among them. In this day and age of youtube weirdness, it may seem superfluous to spotlight “weird video art”, it is also essential to pay respects to the origins of this particular art genre.


The work show ranges in date of creation from 1941 to 2013, and reflects sometimes slyly, sometimes more literally the social change they often accompanied. Some of the bound-to-be-crowd-favorites stand out straight away: in Halo 2600 is one of them. Ed Fries distilled Halo’s lush graphics and complicated plot into a two-dimensional scrolling game, now being played on the original the Atari 2600, and using just 4KB of memory. Add to that Takeshi Murata’s trippy, glitchy Monster Movie, Robert Watts, David Behrman and Bob Diamond’s site specific Cloud Music and a veritable playroom that is Text Rain by Camille Utterback and you may find yourself losing hours in this technology maze.


Watch This! is open through September 7 and probably worth a visit AND a revisit.