Over a year ago, New York’s Museum of Modern Art played host to contemporary artist, Marina Abramovic. As a result of her appearance, hundreds of fans made themselves at home on the outskirts of the Museum to wait for the chance to meet her. The excitement of the encounter was not forgotten, and has now resulted in a recently launched free-to-play online game.
Of course, this game isn’t exactly the same thing as meeting Marina Abramovic up close and personal, but it’s the next best thing. This flash game is based on the 2010 art exhibit performance, in which Abramovic sat for a collective amount of 736 hours, silent and still; all while patrons were on the other side of the room boring their eyes into her skull. No pun intended.
“The Artist is Present” by Pippin Barr is an attempt to replay that experience in a virtual setting, or at least, as authentic as it can be with the 8-bit visuals and graphical adventure. When asked about the game, Barr stated, “I didn’t do it to make a statement, or to be provocative or challenging at all. I really admire Abramović and I wanted to make the experience as authentic as possible.”
The virtual MoMA (Museum of Modern Art) isn’t open unless that actual MoMA is open - which means you can’t play it before 10:30 AM or after 5:30 PM, or Tuesdays, Christmas, and Thanksgiving. Well, in technical terms, you can play, but your character will just be lounging on the outside of the museum with no granted entry inside.
If you visit during open hours, however, it’s a whole different story. Inside you’ll be able to walk past two galleries with 8-bit renderings of beautiful famous paintings; and then be met with a waiting line. (Because of course to portray the reality of things, you must have to have waiting lines.) Barr swears it is possible to reach the front of the line, saying it took him five hours to do so on Thursday. Once you do, you get to stare into Marina’s eyes for as long as you wish. Although, it’ll be somewhat painful to explain if someone were to stumble into your room just to be met with the sight of that.