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The artists decided to focus on the obsession with collecting, documenting, archiving, processing and interpreting anything that can be sampled and captured by machines. Digital data amplify further the hoarding side of consumerism by a tech industry eager to provide the necessary apparatus to orchestrate, control, and ultimately generate profit from such digital gluttony. This comes with a hidden cost: the environmental impact of the cloud and its gazillion connected things; the new forms of labour exploitation and organisation in electronics manufacturing; reducing education to the creation of armies of uncritical computer operators; the struggle of public knowledge repositories confronted with the growing competition of profit-driven private alternatives; and the new forms of elitist denial and escapism found in all sorts of post-human utopias disconnected from reality. While playing the game, the main protagonist progressively explores and reveals the dark side of the legacy left by the so-called digital revolution, via a quest for a rare, unreleased game prototype that will guide her travel within different subcultures. Following this narrative, the player interacts and solve puzzles with the help of librarians, private collectors, pirates, activists, academics and independent researchers.

What Remains takes the media archaeological trend as a topic and means. The game is created from excavated parts and exclusively developed for a late 1980s popular 8-bit video game console (the Nintendo Entertainment System and Nintendo Famicom consoles), made available as a physical cartridge as well as a public domain file download to experience on emulators. As the game progresses it will turn into an increasingly confronting image of our world, questioning the value and purpose of the so-called digital culture, and what will remain of it

Notes

[1] Several articles and books have been written in the past decade about the rise of personal archiving practices, for example: Eric Ketelaar, “Everyone an Archivist”, in Managing and Archiving Records in the Digital Era. Changing Professional Orientations, edited by Niklaus Bütikofer, Hans Hofman, and Seamus Ross. (Baden: hier + jetzt, Verlag für Kultur und Geschichte, 2006) and Personal Archives and a New Archival Calling: Readings, Reflections and Ruminations by Richard J. Cox (Sacramento, CA: Litwin Books, 2008).

[2] The article “What remains? The way we save ourselves” by Marloes de Valk was written for the exhibition What Remains, Strategies of Saving and Deleting, which was organised by ESC Medien Kunst Labor, Graz, Austria, 26 September – 27 November 2015, (accessed January 2017).

[3] The Skor Codex was created by La Société Anonyme, an artist’s collective consisting of Dušan Barok, Danny van der Kleij, Aymeric Mansoux and Marloes de Valk (accessed January 2017).

[4] Naked on Pluto is developed by Dave Griffiths, Aymeric Mansoux and Marloes de Valk (accessed January 2017).