Gas Zappers- solo show at Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive

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Please come to Gas Zappers solo show at BAM/PFA! We are gonna debut the long anticipating Gas Zappers’s online game. I will be there on Oct 30 giving talk to Prof. Richard Rinehart‘s class.

October 22, 2008 – February 8, 2009

Gas Zappers, by artist Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung, is an interactive online art game that tackles global warming. Hung is among the contemporary artists and educators who have adopted video games as a new platform for social debate and aesthetic experience by developing “serious games.” In Gas Zappers, the idiom of the video game is exploited to challenge and illuminate the simplistic notion of quick fixes to environmental issues.

Berkeley and the Bay Area have been at the center of the cultural debate around alternative energy sources and global warming, due in no small part to developments like the $500 million joint project between UC Berkeley and British Petroleum to develop alternative biofuels. Gas Zappers furthers this discourse in a serious game that is also at times fantastical and wry.

Like much of the artist’s work, Gas Zappers is visually frenetic and colorful, referencing numerous popular and political sources. The animation style of Gas Zappers reinforces and goes beyond the game’s subject of global warming, caricaturing the exasperating and vulgar noise of the political media engine itself. In adopting the artistic strategies of photomontage, political satire, humor, and surrealism, Hung is an artistic descendent of Dadaist John Heartfield, whose photomontages lampooned Hitler and Mussolini. Ken Johnson wrote for the New York Times, “Looking at Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung’s art is like peeking into the fever dream of an overworked political blogger. Mr. Hung, 31, is a fierce, funny and inventive political satirist.”

Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung received a New Media Fellowship, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, to develop Gas Zappers. A video version of the work was shown in the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. BAM/PFA’s exhibition, on view starting October 22 at bampfa.berkeley.edu/exhibition/gaszappers and in the museum’s Bancroft Lobby, is the world premiere of the fully realized work, including the interactive game.

Richard Rinehart
Digital Media Director and Adjunct Curator

Gas Zappers in Sundance 2008!

Gas Zappers news, Miscellaneous 1 Comment »

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Ok, this is the story. My friend Gemma advises me to make a video to create the game characters of Gas Zappers so I did it. Originally, right after I finish I want to release it here to let you guys see it but Sundance contacted me and say it got in the Short Films program, along with my other video “Because Washington Is Hollywood For Ugly People”. Here I would like to give my million Thanks and Kisses to Noah Vawter, Gemma Shusterman, John Blue, MC Paul Barman and Noah Reinhertz for all the support and hardwork.

This is crazy, I got two short films in the 2008 Sundance! This year the Festival Short Film Program comprises 83 short films representing 17 countries from 5,107 submissions, from U.S. and international filmmakers. Submissions grew by more than 15% over last year. We will be there from Jan 17 to 23, 2008, so if any of you wanna hang please email me! Also my friend Eddo Stern will be showing his works in the New Frontier On Main program too. Here are more info on my two shorts:

“Gas Zappers”
2007
directed by Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung
music by Noah Vawter

Synopsis:
Gas Zappers is a short animation about climate change. The main character, the ironically overappropriated and fuzzy polar bear, abruptly finds itself in a position to save its home living environment through dextrous maneuvers in an Al-e Gore-ical world. The idiom of the video game is exploited to challenge and illuminate the simplistic notion of quick fixes to environmental issues. Aesthetically, graphical and musical styles from the glory days of video games conjure the triumph and delight of virtual success. As the bear progresses with celebrity companions through different climate change scenarios such as Venice underwater, confrontations with bulldozers, and anthropomorphized killer oil derricks, it narrowly succeeds each time thanks to its renewable energy defenses. A narrative unfolds that, like the artists’ previous works, waggishly interrogates the spectacular mode of ecological policy.

“Because Washington Is Hollywood For Ugly People”
2007
directed by Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung
narration written and performed by MC Paul Barman
music by John Blue

Synopsis:
“Because Washington Is Hollywood For Ugly People” is a video/ animation that employs images from popular culture, political figures and imagery found in the internet. The piece adopts the form of viral advertising in a reduction of contemporary events to a cartoon like mythology while touching on issues such as identity politics, U.S. foreign policy, sexuality and power.

Both films will be playing in the Frontier Shorts Program. The confirmed schedule is:

Gas Zappers (New Frontier Short Program):
Fri. Jan 18, 1:00pm, Holiday IV
Fri. Jan 18, 11:30pm, Prospector
Sat. Jan 19, 6:00pm, Tower
Tue. Jan 22, 3:15pm, Holiday III
Sat. Jan 26, 8:30pm, Holiday II

Because Washington is Hollywood for Ugly People (New Frontier Short Program):
Fri. Jan 18, 1:00pm, Holiday IV
Fri. Jan 18, 11:30pm, Prospector
Sat. Jan 19, 6:00pm, Tower
Tue. Jan 22, 3:15pm, Holiday III
Sat. Jan 26, 8:30pm, Holiday II

For the complete film guide you can download it here

GAS ZAPPERS tagline competition!

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Yes, we want to squeeze all your brain juice out! Now we have a tag-line competition, you are invited to suggest a tag-line for this project (something like “Broadcast Yourself” of YouTube). Later on 10 of those will be selected for an open poll and people will vote for the final winner, who will get a one-of-a-kind gift from artist Kenneth Hung (can’t tell you yet but something pretty cool) Please visit the Development Forums and drop down your suggestions! Of course, if you have any other ideas of making the game fun please contribute too. Later!

“Oil” by MC Paul Barman

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Oil by MC Paul Barman
– official theme song of GAS ZAPPERS
You can listen to the song at MC Paul Barman’s MySpace page.

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OIL (lyrics excerpts)
“Whales, coal and timber burn for tinder.
Global warming makes a colder winter.
The Chernobyl warning didn’t hinder.
Nuclear, which may be cleaner than coal cinders, killed millions on the whole, but
neither is ideal so slow your role!
You can’ love the first and hate the latter.
There’s always an effect when you change a state of matter.
We took the gas out the grounds and put it in the skies.
The morass compounds as China industrializes.
Demands can’t and never will again meet supplies.” ….

“Who’ll predict the new immigration
when the sky inflicts fire, hurricane and desertification, famines and floods,
islands go glug and malaria spreads to new areas from bugs.”

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