8-Bit Street Art Fills My Heart With Love

photo via Nick Gray

I’m a fan of pixel most things 16 bits and below; the closer you get to 8 the happier I am. This lovely moment of 8-bit zen was photographed somewhere on the Lower East Side. A step up from the real life Mario question mark boxes that nearly got a few Ohio folks arrested, this piece of art charmingly integrates itself into the concrete environment.

I’d always daydreamed of ripping off the idea I’d heard about long ago: making the entire first level of Mario into a stencil.

I mean, come on…half the work has been done: a full .png of World 1-1.

Someday.

I’m always overjoyed at the longevity of the basic Mario iconography. The lasting cultural impression that the 53 color palette of the NES has left on us as a generation never fails to bring me joy. From the evidence of chiptune composing software LSDJ to art collectives like I Am 8-Bit, the cultural resonance of the NES has lasted. I remember the moment I walked into a room at the 2004 Whitney Biennial and saw projections from Arcangel’s hand glitched NES cartridge displaying only SMB’s iconic clouds to the sound of looping chiptunes, I felt a sense of legitimacy.

photo via Artlink, though it is not a photo from the ’04 Whitney Biennial

There was art distilled from the heart of a working NES, that sat high up on a shelf in a major NY art gallery. The artist had chose to leave the system visible, the heart of the projections left out and visible. Showing that the importance came as much from what was projected as to what created the images.

I had a similar feeling walking into the Game On exhibit which graced Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry twice (as the popularity demanded it). I visited the first incarnation in 2005, with a friend who had come to town for the week. Both him and I, who had went to high school together, lived as a pretty similar caliber of geeks. We walked the halls of the museum, looking at the original Famicom systems running behind glass, controllers jutting from the wall, like relics on hermetic altars. I poked at the table of ancient hand held systems, which included an array of Nintendo’s Game & Watch systems (crude LCD Gameboy precursors, some of whom share a striking resemblance to their current DS) I went on play Infocom’s text only Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy game on a still breathing Commodore 128. I’d wasted many hours on the same kind of computer, locked away in a self-imposed bedroom isolation on that very agonizing game.

cheeky animated gif via the archives of douglas adams dot com

I looked to my friend and said, “Well, we have to be doing something right…the shit we wasted our childhood on is now in a museum.”

Where Did I Go?

Almost a month and a half since the last post at TTM.com, and hell, let’s be honest…that post was written by Dan. So, it’s been ages since I wrote here, and I do think about it often, but time/life has consumed me:

I’ve begun a new job, working as an assistant editor for Devil’s Due.

I disappeared to Chicago for a week to celebrate my birthday and catch Why? at the Abbey Pub.

I returned to LA and caught some kind of chest plague that hurt enough for me to quit smoking and take a sick day from work.

I’m just realigning my life to a point where hopefully I can write again. We shall see.


When will then be now?

Soon hopefully…