Thomas Robertello Gallery is pleased to present Ripon Prototype: A Video Game Installation preview on Wed. April 25, 6-9pm. Created by Cleveland-based artists Knut Hybinette and Troy Richards, Ripon is an innovative conceptual installation integrating an original video game with large-scale digital prints that use the setting of a violent dystopia to upset the conventions of gaming culture. Named after and located in Ripon, Wisconsin; a small town founded on the writings of the French Utopian writer Charles Fourier that would later become the birthplace for the Republican party, Ripon is meant as something more akin to ephemeral happenings or events with random chaotic situations in the game occurring only once. The game is designed with multiple monitors and projections that allow up to ten people to play simultaneously. The digital prints, which rely on rigorous drawing and print making techniques, depict the world of the game while surrounding the projections with images of home made methamphetamine labs, drug addicts, as well as cocoa and marijuana plants growing wild in abundant proportions. This depiction of a rural Mid-western societal collapse as a virtual reality involving the viewers is both frightening and humorous.
The Ripon project subverts our expectations of video games, engaging the viewer/player in strategic and psychologically complex ways. From the design perspective, this is accomplished in three ways: one becomes less adept as the game progresses, players are de-centered, and each player is mortal. Ripon questions the violence so often used as conventional entertainment in video game culture, utilizing a critical perspective that is possible in the context of art installation.
Knut Hybinette was born in Sweden and resides in Cleveland, OH where he is on the faculty of the Cleveland Institute of Art. He graduated with an MFA in photography and animation from the School of the Art Institute Chicago in 2004 and has exhibited his work internationally. Troy Richards is also on the faculty on the Cleveland Institute of Art and graduated in 1997 with an MFA in painting from Cranbrook Academy in MI. He has exhibited his work in numerous venues nationally including the Queens Museum of Art, P.S. 1, and LFL Gallery.
Ripon Prototype will be exhibited one night only – April 25, 6-9pm