Home > Artist of the Week, Digital Design, Uncategorized > Artist of the Week: Cory Arcangel

Artist of the Week: Cory Arcangel

June 19, 2011

Circuit bending hacker, programmer, digital and video artist Cory Arcangel is know for appropriation and modification.  He will do things like write a program to scramble and reorder a movie so that it play in a new fashion creating a different movie.  He is know for taking popular culture material from video games, websites and television.  Appropriating material and using pop culture material is often a central part of what is frequently referred to as Post-modernist contemporary art.  Cory Arcangel has done a number of projects and collaborations; he is probably best known for Super Mario Clouds [2002] where he modified a Nintendo game cartridge and erased everything but the clouds.

A video of  Super Mario Clouds is on Arcangel’s website, but I looked through some of the comments on YouTube and they vary from appreciation to virile hatred. One comment copied in full below by parrrrot:

“Wow look at all these people defending this garbage. Seriously, he could have something other than this and slap on the same explanation to his work and try to make it sound like he made a work of art. Anyone can be a self-proclaimed artist like this dickhead, just that most people rather spend the time doing something worthwhile than wasting time on a piece of shit work like this one.”

Similar to prior artist of the week Chuck Elliott, digital and electronic media are still so new that its presentation as art send people screaming up the wall.  Yet the truth about the work of Cory Arcangel’s work is its intentional expression that anyone can be a self-proclaimed artist, something the artist encourages. He shows you how.


“Arcangel’s democratic attitude extends to the distribution of his work.  Although he participates in the conventional art market, he is also willing to share the source code for his projects.  Visitors to his Web site are invited to follow step-by-step instructions and “see the magic themselves at home.”… Arcangel’s tutorials function like paint-by-numbers kits for hackers, making possible an infinite number of “original” works of art.  What is more important is that he implicitly encourages home users to make their own subtractions and addenda and has in return received numerous “mods”, or modifications, of his projects.  Arcangel’s willingness to demystify his process and lack of anxiety about authorship is unsurprising in the context of the Internet, where peer-to-peer distribution is the norm: “When you’re appropriating stuff, you can’t get mad when people appropriate what you appropriated.”

source Colour Chart: Reinventing Colour, 1950 to Today

Corey Arcangel’s portfolio is here.  Check out the one hour ten minute lecture “Digital Media Arts” by Arcangel at Columbia University concerning “open source culture: the intersection of intellectual property, technology and the arts.”

I also have am now able to add another artist to my “I Shot Andy Warhol” list.

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