Los Angeles based Stern has been involved in video gaming culture as a practitioner and theorist for many years. He is presently on the faculty at California Institute of the Arts. The works in the show are a result of the artist’s obsessive participation in online fantasy games, most recently a yearlong immersion (2000 hours played) in World of Warcraft, the most popular MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Games) with more than 10 million players worldwide.
His new works – kinetic shadow sculptures and 3D computer animation videos – use a mash-up of documentary material from online forums, clip art, YouTube videos, midi music, electronics, and hand made puppets. They mine the online gaming world at its paradoxical extremes: on one hand, an untenable perversity of life spent slaying an endless stream of virtual monsters, on the other, an ultimate mirroring of the most familiar social dynamics. The struggles with masculinity, honor, aggression, faith, love and self worth are embroiled with the gameworld’s vernacular aesthetics.