Adonis Archontides

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Milan Machinima Festival MMXIV
IULM University
Milan, Italy
Curated by Matteo Bittanti
11 - 15 March 2024

With Adonis Archontides, Steven Cottingham, Kara Güt, Thomas Hawranke, Andy Hughes, Carson Lynn, Stephan Panhans and Andrea Winkler, Bram Ruiter.

The exhibition’s title  alludes to the elements of chance, repetition, and the blurring of reality and fiction inherent in both slot machines and the narrative structures of the exhibited works. As viewers navigate the expansive 800-square-meter Contemporary Exhibition Hall at IULM University, they are transported into surreal and often unsettling virtual worlds that challenge perceptions of reality, fiction, and the boundaries between the two. The curator eschews a rigid, linear presentation of the works, instead favoring an approach that embraces randomness and fluidity, creating an immersive context more akin to a video installation format than a traditional cinematic formula. The exhibition space is reminiscent of Plato’s cave, where visitors encounter works that blend the real and the virtual, the familiar and the uncanny. The carefully curated selection of machinima works, each with its own unique aesthetic and narrative style, invites viewers to question the nature of reality and the role of technology in shaping our perceptions. By embracing the unpredictable and the non-linear, Slot Machinima encourages active engagement and personal interpretation, allowing each visitor to construct their own narrative journey through the exhibition.

The comparison to slot machines extends beyond the element of chance; it also speaks to the addictive nature of the works on display, or rather, their source. Just as slot machines are designed to keep players engaged through a combination of anticipation, reward, and repetition, the machinima works in Slot Machinima draw viewers in with their mesmerizing visuals, compelling narratives, and the promise of new discoveries around every corner, which are the main ingredients of video games. In short, the exhibition becomes a space where visitors can lose themselves in the virtual worlds created by the artists, blurring the lines between the real and the imagined.

Ultimately, Slot Machinima challenges traditional notions of art consumption and presentation. By embracing randomness, interactivity, and the immersive qualities of video installations, the curator invites visitors to become active participants in the construction of meaning. The exhibition serves as a testament to the power of machinima as an art form, showcasing its ability to create compelling, thought-provoking experiences that push the boundaries of what is possible in the realm of digital storytelling. Key themes include the representation of warfare in the digital age, the complexities of human intimacy in virtual spaces, and the nature of control and agency in digital environments.

Adonis Archontides’s Ya gotta wob’ere! Ya gotta wob’ere! (Don't give up! Keep trying!) (2019) is the third installment of a trilogy developed within The Sims 4 between 2018 and 2020, alongside Za woka genava (I think you are hot) (2019) and Sulsul! Plerg Majah Bliff? (Hello! Can I do something else please?) (2018). In these works, Archontides crafts challenging scenarios for Non-Player Characters (NPCs), exploring the challenges of our increasingly digital existence.

Works included: 

Related tags: group shows, machinima, video, videogames, The Sims