Judith Barry’s Space Invaders: An early example of computer-aided artwork

Screenshot of Space Invaders, 1982. Image courtesy of: Judith Barry.
ACT at MIT

SPACE INVADERS: An early example of computer-aided artwork

From Arts at MIT’s Computing and the Arts

“We play video games knowing we will lose, but none of us quite knows how to become a star.”
Judith Barry, Project Lead and Professor, Department of Architecture, MIT; Director, Program in Art, Culture, and Technology, MIT

Space Invaders is a science fantasy video that connects three environments—a disco, a video game arcade, and a bedroom—through the omnipresence of a screen. It was the first video Judith Barry created using computer editing.

According to Barry, “This video takes up Andy Warhol’s famous dictum ‘Everyone will be famous for 15 minutes’ while also slyly filtering his desire to be a robot and his notion of The Factory [Warhol’s New York studio] through the lens of entertainment culture and the global village.”

This work was first exhibited at the Internationaal Cultureel Centrum in Antwerp, Belgium, in 1982 as a two-channel installation. Two monitors were set up along a wall, separated by about 7 feet, and a slide projection on a very slow dissolve unit continuously went in and out of focus. When the piece was in focus, viewers saw a city lit up at night, but from a great distance. When the slide slowly went out of focus, it appeared as if you were moving through space with stars speeding by. At the end of the video, one of the players blows up—becoming a star.

Project lead:
Judith Barry, Project Lead and Professor, Department of Architecture, MIT; Director, Program in Art, Culture, and Technology, MIT

Launched: 1982

 

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