Place 60 artists and hackers over a strong God-inspired fire. Boil frantically for 72 hours. Serve in party mode for only one night in 27 distinct servings. The second iteration of Art Hack Day in Bushwick took place last Saturday at 319 Scholes and looked like a recipe made for the modern technological age.
This year’s theme, “God Mode,” has been an interesting feature in video games since the 1980s, but has also recently migrated to our ever-expanding digital lives. In the gaming world, God Mode grants players unlimited strength, seconds of invulnerability or access to previously unreachable areas; in everyday life, God Mode is materialized in the constant surveillance of our electronic devices.
By exploring this theme, the projects created an experience that resembled an acid trip of flashy imagined worlds, dystopian futures and religious omnipotence all at once. Projects were simultaneously funny and grotesque, poignant yet playful.
In the basement, one of the projects taught us how to avoid DNA collection by the authorities, inspired by Gataca. Though low on technological complexity, it gave us a glimpse of a world where science fiction is becoming reality.
On the other side of the basement, the creators of The Hands of Gods allowed people to digitally create or destroy land, inspired by The Sims. A simple concept, yet technically complex, the project will have the potential to evolve outside of Art Hack Day.
On one of the walls on the main floor, there was a computer installation that offered people a chance to explore and surf the web in the company of Jesus. Pious Web was a simple idea that let the user make what s/he wanted of it, even if that meant watching gay porn, for example. In whatever way s/he chose to use it, Jesus was acting like a hacker intercepting the information.
A gaming app called God’s Eyes involved a designated God/user and his subjects that provided him/her with their video feeds. As the different devices were connected, points were accumulated, towards talking to God or achieving Godhood. The creators of the app are planning on getting the app to the iTunes store, bringing us closer to their version of the gamified Big Brother.
As I left the this modern-day technological circus, I could see why this event takes place in Bushwick. The face of this neighborhood is formed by the technological advances that are happening around us. Automation and robotics have rendered traditional manufacturing obsolete, leaving us with giant warehouses and buildings that now host artists, programmers, engineers and designers who further our thinking and approach to an obscure future, where technology will be omnipresent in every move we make.