New Works in New Technologies

Player A + B
Artists in residence
Ariel Smith
Bear Thomas
May to August 2007

Player A + B is the product of a residency program at Artengine in which artists with diverse backgrounds working in other media develop their first electronic artwork. A series of workshops and technical support is provided to help realize new project from start to finish. Player A + B is the first work produced through this project.

Player A + B uses the framework of early video game technologies and simple live video manipulation techniques to create a VJ version of the classic Street Fighter game of the 1980s. The presentation of the work uses a Television unit from the same era coupled with a set of Nintendo NES controllers. Game play consists of a single video screen divided in two. Player A and Player B compete against each other in a live video session by manipulating there video clips with the controllers. The game play is simple and uses classic game logic using button actions (A and B) for basic moves, and the arrow pad for more complex actions. Actions available include opacity, loop points and speed while different button combinations, for example pressing A-B-B-A rather than simply A-A-A, will reveal special visual effects. Players compete in a timed trial at the end of which a winner is selected and they are return to the clip selection screen to begin another round. The bank of clips for each player have been designed by the respective artist in the collaboration and are drawn from some of the favourite treasures in their gigantic collection of old VHS tapes.

Artist Biographies

Ariel Smith is an award winning emerging filmmaker and video artist. She has been creating her own independent works for the past 6 years and has screened at various film festivals internationally. Ariel's most recent works include 1,2,3 Knockup(2006 DV) and Saviour Complex(2007 16mm), both of which received various levels of arts council funding. Ariel currently lives in Ottawa by way of Vancouver and Montreal.

Ottawa- based artist Ehren Bear Thomas started making videos while in Junior High and has since experimented with glass blowing, Deejaying, music production and writing. In 2006 Ehren participated in SAW Video's youth program and had his first public screenings of two new video works at the 2006 ImagiNATIVE media festival, in the music video category and the short experimental category, where he also received an Honourable Mention Award for Emerging Talent. Ehren is also collaborating on several video and music projects with his father, visual artist and curator Jeff Thomas.