Hunter Jonakin’s video game Jeff Koons Must Die is to be displayed at Berlin’s KW Institute of Contemporary Art. The artwork explores conventional ideas about war and force through art. It is based on a traditional shooting game where players are able to enter an art gallery and obliterate well known sculptures by the New York artist Koons. The players are assigned a virtual rocket launcher and you can guess what happens next…
Mr Jonakin’s artwork is part of the exhibition “Fire and Forget. On Violence” a display which looks at conventional ideas about war and force through art. The exhibition” comes from military jargon, and is a term for weapons systems that are no longer used in direct combat with an enemy but are launched from a safe distance. The exhibition FIRE AND FORGET. ON VIOLENCE takes the military expression as the starting point for an examination of the conventional ideas about war and force. It is oriented towards the most visible agent of violence: weapons.
FIRE AND FORGET. ON VIOLENCE applies the means of contemporary art to address the long-term effects of these new weapons on the human psyche.The loss of a direct, physical confrontation and the danger for one’s own life had created, separates the violent situation itself from affects like reluctance for killing or overreaction, sympathy or hate. What may this mean for the arguments and evidence of political action? Which meaning does this context of the story receive: the memory and forgetting of an outburst, escalation or the prevention of violence? and which interest does art have in all this?
Curated by Ellen Blumenstein and Daniel Tyradellis Set in a museum during a Koons retrospective, the 2011 video game features an animated version of the famous artist, who reprimands players for destroying his art. The artist then orders a horde of museum guards to attack the player. Players are invited to destroy Koons’ sculptures. If players survive the first round, they can re-enter the room, where an infinite number of curators, lawyers, assistants, and guards will attack again until the player is dead. The artwork is presented as an 1980s style arcade game, which players control using a joystick and two buttons.
Jeff Koons is one of the most polarizing and well known contemporary artists living today,” Jonakin explained on his website. “All of Koons’ art is constructed by assistants. In general, viewers love or hate Koons and his work, and that is why he was chosen as the subject matter for this piece.”
“In the end, the game is unwinnable, and acts as a comment on the fine art studio system, museum culture, art and commerce, hierarchical power structures, and the destructive tendencies of gallery goers,” the American artist added.
Photo: hunterjonakin.com still from video game
FIRE AND FORGET. ON VIOLENCE 14. 6.– 30. 8. 15 Berlin’s KW Institute of Contemporary Art