(click on thumbnail to view a larger version)



Michelle Gay

Steamworks Media
Ontario, Canada
michelle@steamworks.com
Battle Game


Artist Statement: For years, I have used the language and tools of technology to create poetic works that call attention to the technology itself. For instance, in this work, I used C++ source code from Quake as a "weaving tool" to present two "representations" of battles played off one another. One is an embroidered document of the Battle of Hastings in 1066, produced by a number of anonymous women. The other is the actual line-for-line programming code used to run Quake, the contemporary online war game that takes place in virtual space). I merged these two depictions by creating the code-based image on a computer and printing it onto a woven fabric in the exact scale of the original tapestry.

From a distance, the viewer sees a tapestry that has the appearance of the historic Bayeux Tapestry. As you approach, coming closer in body and, metaphorically, in "time," the images of the Bayeux break apart into computerprogram text (courier, uppercase, 10 point), where you can read all the specific documents needed to operate Quake, including the C++ dictionary, the game manual, and all the key commands. Where the text ends, the drawing ends, and the tapestry begins to look like a time-worn tapestry.

In "Battle Game," I enjoy the conflation of the old and the new. Thinking of old technology and the concept of legacy machines, I chuckle at and relish the thought that textiles are always backwards-compatible.

In this piece, I'm playing with the idea that code can be both content and structure, material and subject. Those who have looked at and worked with programming languages recognize that the logic and writing can be very beautiful. In many of the works that I have produced over the past nine years, I've revealed some of this language/code as an entity or element within the work.

"Battle Game" also allows us to subtly explore ideas about the military, the continuity of war, gaming, and theories of play and violence.