Arcangel, Dark Angel

Hello everyone! In this blog post, I will be talking about Cory Arcangel and my thoughts on his work. Cory Arcangel is an American digital artist with a concentration in technology-based art. Arcangel, now residing in Stravanger, Norway, creates a variety of technology-based work from video games to software. Moreover, Arcangel uses reconfiguration and hacking as tools in his creative arsenal. Other tools in his arsenal include open source tools, the Perl programming language, and Photoshop. Arcangel’s clear preference for digital tools demonstrates a general change in art from brushes and paints to screens and gadgets. Arcangel himself creates art using gadgets by tinkering with technology like digital menu machines (NOWNESS). However, Arcangel uses these obscure technologies to do things that seem “useless or pointless” (NOWNESS). One can find Arcangel’s artwork in his merchandise and publishing imprint, Arcangel Surfware. Arcangel also released some of his older source code for past projects (because code is art too) on his archival zine, The Source. Cory Arcangel is a prolific creator as he began his career as the youngest artist to have a full floor solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum to recently receiving the Nam June Paik Award in 2014.

The first image of Arcangel’s that I particularly like is this fake advertisement (above) for his Whitney exhibition, Pro Tools. The advertisement was featured on Arcangel’s Buzzfeed page. I like this ad for a variety of reasons. The first draw is its simplicity. The text is sans serif and has simple text decoration (the underlining). Also, the vibrant flashing colours demand your attention in a way that is more abrupt than advertisements today.  On the other hand, it is impersonating the all too familiar pop up ad of ye olden times and because of unfortunate association, we almost immediately disregard what it says. We think, “It’s an ad, I’m going to close it and forget about it.” But by looking at this gif closer, we can see there is a poeticism in Arcangel’s ability to make a trashy medium into something artistic.

The second work of Arcangel’s that I related to was his “Mig 29 Soviet Fighter Plane, Clouds, and OS X” piece. This work was made possible by a Mig 29 Soviet Fighter Plane and Clouds (2005) Nintendo Entertainment System.nes Roms, Two Macminis running OS X, Nintendo emulators (Open Emu), and variable multi-channel presentations. In essence, Arcangel hacked the plane from the intro screen and placed it onto a background from later in the game. By taking these two images out of their context, Arcangel is able to make a new work with new meaning. I connected to this piece as I have done some coding to make a video game act differently. Personally, I believe that video game hacking is an unrecognized form of found art. Taking code and bending it as one pleases is an art form in and of itself. Consequently, I really admire this piece as it draws attention to this unconsidered art form.

The last Arcangel work I want to discuss is his “Hello World” piece. This work struck me as it is very different from Arcangel’s usual retro tech vibe. The abstract lines stretch out across the canvas in a seemingly random way. Likewise, the lines cross over in an accidentally geometric way that fascinates me. Another reason I like this work is that it’s title seems to be an homage to the typical, first post on a website. When one installs WordPress or any other Content Management System (CMS) onto their website, it usually automatically posts “Hello, World!” The phrase coined by Ritchie and Brian Kernighan is now a canonical greeting for any programming language or CMS (Ford). In a way, Arcangel’s line drawing seems like a computer grasping towards recognition and its first introduction to its new environment.

All in all, I really liked Arcangel’s work as some resonated with my tech(gore?) aesthetic and other works appealed to my minimalist sensibilities.  

Works Cited

Arcangel, Cory. “About.” Cory Arcangel’s Official Portfolio Website and Portal, Accessed 14 Feb. 2019.

Consumer Reports: Cory Arcangel -ARTnews. Accessed 14 Feb. 2019.

Cory Arcangel | Artists | Lisson Gallery. Accessed 14 Feb. 2019.

Cory Arcangel Re-Blogs the Internet | Whitney Museum of American Art. Accessed 14 Feb. 2019.

Ford, Pual. Paul Ford: What Is Code? | Bloomberg. Accessed 14 Feb. 2019.

“Game Art: Cory Arcangel’s MIG 29 Soviet Fighter Plane and Clouds (2005).” GAMESCENES, Accessed 14 Feb. 2019.

NOWNESS. Raw Materials: Cory Arcangel. YouTube, Accessed 14 Feb. 2019.Whitney Museum of American Art. Whitney Stories: Cory Arcangel. YouTube, Accessed 14 Feb. 2019.

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