Unlikely Inspiration Behind Glasgow Interactive Art Bar

A vacant storefront in a Glasgow, Scotland shopping mall has been transformed into an art bar, complete with a life-sized, interactive Pong installation.

The TimesOnline details the efforts of the National Theatre of Scotland—in conjunction with local artists—to open the bar, entitled Allotment. The first of two December events, taking place this Saturday, will feature the giant Pong  system as part of an installation examining the theme "gaming and morality."

So, what was the motivation behind the theme? Artist John Houston explained, “There’s a lobbyist in America called Jack Thompson who is basically the Mary Whitehouse of video games. He’s bitterly against violence in video games, even though they are rated for a mature audience and are not meant to be seen by seven-year-olds.”

Houston, also responsible for creating the popular viral video that remixed Radiohead’s Nude with dot matrix printer and hard drive sounds (kind of a modern day version of Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music), continued:

With Pong, we wanted to challenge that idea by taking it a stage beyond killing soldiers or stealing cars, like in Grand Theft Auto, and create stripped down games that remove the computer and allow real people to influence the games. In essence, as people walk into the middle of the game, they can control the movement of the graphics in this primitive tennis match.

Fellow artist Kieran Hurley added:

There is a moral implication of how much you want to mess up somebody’s game, how much you want to make yourself an obstacle to somebody else. But at the end of the day, it’s just a really cool thing to have in a bar.

There you go. Jack Thompson, muse.

|Image Via Acrosstheboard|

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