Photography, and how we use it to understand the world, is undergoing massive changes in the era of digital information technology. While these fractures, slippages, and mismatches can be frustrating, they can also be incredibly fertile sites for artistic production. After all, what could be more apt a metaphor for media-bombarded 2017 than the awkward, sometimes distressing act, of trying to figure out how use a technology that is almost 200 years old to deal with the implications of the futurist-media du jour, video games?
My own work, dealing with photography, virtual landscape, glitches, and the unseen traces of online gaming, has been fueled by this tension. And who would be a better partner in conversation about this often amusingly awkward, but also surprisingly potent, act of making art that combines these two massive cultural forces, than Kent Sheely, an artist who is perhaps best known for his video art/performance piece “Modern Pacifism,” in which he tried to play through Call of Duty without killing anyone. Inspired by our collaborative curation of a show about photography and video games called Screen Knowledges, we sat down to discuss the ways we find subject matter in our relationship to video games and art history.