Dadaist Game Art: The Digital Ready-Made and Absurdist Appropriation

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This paper will look at Dadaist tendencies in game art projects such as Wafaa Bilal’s Virtual Jihadi and the author’s collaborative project Grand Theft Bicycle. The focus will be on how certain game art projects borrow from popular games such as Grand Theft Auto and Quake, and invert/subvert the meaning of the originals by ‘modding’ aspects of the original world (i.e. the characters, the sounds, the basic concept), while leaving much of the source (i.e. the background textures, the AI) intact. This paper argues that the game art mod is a digital descendent of the Dadaist ready-made. More specifically the paper will look at the particular Dadaist-inspired absurdities in Grand Theft Bicycle (GTB), such as the use of an aerobic-style bicycle to engage in a political battle with world leaders within a vacuous game environment.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-56
JournalMedia-N: Journal of the New Media Caucus
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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