It's been a while since I sat down in an art gallery with a glass of red wine and a cup of Cheetos and got to play Centipede on a vintage Atari console hooked up to an old TV set with a fake wood finish. I did just that at the opening party for Level_13: The Secret Level, an exhibit that opened last Friday at the Altered Esthetics Gallery. The biennial exhibit featured visual art from over 40 local and international artists inspired by classic video games like Arkanoid, Pac-Man, and Super Mario Brothers. Speaking of Mario, friends of mine at the show bought a couple of paintings illustrating what Mario would look like if he dressed like Scott Seekins (both summer and winter modes were shown). A limited edition Level_13 poster by Burlesque of North America was unveiled. Old school video game animations were projected onto the gallery walls and live music was provided by Caly McMorrow, Jobot and local DJ Mike the 2600 King. Despite everything that was going on, I still managed to have some interesting conversations. Among other things, Steve Ogdahl explained the basics of using microcontrollers and LEDs to make large illuminated displays with triangular pixels to show colorful video game images.
Text and Photos by Stephen Stephens.
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