Game Designer Pippin Barr Loots the Museum
New Zealand–born, Malta-based video game designer and writer Pippin Barr has created an ongoing series of lo-fi, quirky, web-based games, which comment on the art world’s intriguing, often absurd insularity.
With his latest piece, The Stolen Art Gallery, Barr investigates the idea of the museum. Except instead of preserving images of art that is no longer publicly available owing to thieves, his virtual museum only displays empty walls, with wall text suggesting what’s missing. It’s a sly commentary not only on the nature of museums as centers of art preservation but the impact of digital technology and the Internet on art’s accessibility. The empty museum holds its own lessons.
Why is this indie developer so invested in the art world? Barr started out young. “My parents are contemporary art collectors in New Zealand, so my childhood was one in which artists were constantly staying with us, or around for dinner, or installing work,” he says. “I’m fascinated and engaged by art, and have ended up, somewhat helplessly, making it myself in my own way.”
Since 2013, Barr has taught game design, experience design, prototyping, and criticism at the Institute of Digital Games at the University of Malta.
Original article by Kyle Chayka, Vulture, May 20, 2015.
Photo by Pippin Barr.