Jonathan Mann aka Gamejew
area: Media Art
time periodOctober 2007 - November 2007
I couldn't believe it when I got an email from my friend Robert Glashüttner, informing me that he had submitted my name to be an artist in residence at the Subotron shop in the MuseumsQuartier in Vienna. Robert and I had met through my online video show, GameJew, which had just celebrated it's 1st birthday. The show, a musical/comedic/heartfelt romp through the world of video games, had started out as really nothing more than a lark, something to keep me occupied since the self-imposed hiatus of my rock opera based on the Super Mario Bros. I had posted the first episode on YouTube not really knowing what to expect, certainly not expecting much, and had been genuinely surprised when it got 2000 views. Then that first episode ended up on one of my favorite blogs, Kotaku. Not really understanding what I was doing, but happy that people were watching what I had made, I created episode 2 and haven't stopped since.
From those humble beginnings to an invited artist residency in Vienna; it was quite a shock. I really wasn't sure what I was going to do. The Subotron shop is a wonderful nook of the MuseumsQuartier, an old school gamer's paradise, with video games that date back to the beginning (the 70s!). The shop's proprietor, Jogi, believes wholeheartedly that video games are the 21st century's purest art form, the new frontier that is going to be explored in the decades to come. His goal has been to preserve the history of this art form, as well as promote the (radical) idea that Games Are Art. On these ideals, he and I are in complete accord. But how to best represent that?
The format of my online video show is always evolving. I had started off making longer episodes, ranging from 8 minutes to a whole 45, but had abandoned that mode in favor of a higher quantity of shorter form posts.
Now that I was going to be in Vienna, exploring the video game culture full time, I decided it would be best to go back to the longer episodes. For my residency, I created eight 30 min. episodes featuring a wide variety of people, places and events in Vienna. I figured the best way to represent the Subotron shop was to simply continue to make my episodes, as I had done, with a special eye on what makes Viennese Video Game Culture different from America's.
Some highlights: Interviewing folks around Vienna about the video game scene. Going to Vienna based video game developer "Avaloop", and seeing their fantastic new game "Papermint". Learning about the government subsidies that allow spaces like the Subotron shop (or it's miscreant cousin, The Metalab) to exist. Doing a weekly radio spot with FM4, as well as a weekly video spot on PulsTV. Drinking Sturm. Performing Video Game Music in various nightclubs. Seeing The Gameboy Music Club (twice!). Meeting friends, making friends.
For the complete GameJew In Vienna Experience, you can visit www.gamejew.com!
My entire time, documented in video form, is there.