Sim Art

20070416sims_cat2.jpg

Video games, you tend to think, are set in fantasy worlds, so it's a strange fact that the best-selling PC game of all time is The Sims, a real-life simulation rife with mundane, detailed exactness; characters sleep, go to work, and bicker. There's no end — the characters just live their lives — but the game has become a cultural phenomenon since its 2000 launch. It has now even inspired "The Sims: In the Hands of Artists," an exhibit opening Thursday at Chelsea Art Museum. For the show, game-maker Electronic Arts collaborated with Parsons, challenging students to create Sims-inspired art using everything from basic pencil and paper to machinima, a moviemaking technology powered by the game's engine. We got a sneak peek at four student projects.


Simland, by Cat Lauigan, BFA student in illustration

A large 3-D visual depiction of the game in diorama form.

Are you a big fan? I've never played the game. My little sister played it. She used to kill all her characters all the time. Are computer games usually a source of inspiration? I'm not a really big computer fan, although I love Super Mario 3. I beat it one summer when I was 10. That's like my pride and joy.

20070416sims_zach.jpg

A Fairly Monstrous Being, by Zack Zezima, BFA student in illustration
A 3-D sculpture of an imagined Sims monster-character.
What was the first video game you loved? When I had the original Nintendo, we had Duck Hunt. Would Duck Hunt ever inspire you to create art? Actually, no.















20070416sims_voyeur.jpg

52 E. 7th Street, by Albert Dang, Christopher Dye, Hee Jung, and Kanyang Li, MFA students in design and technology

It's voyeurism at its virtual best: Several Sims apartment window vignettes are presented along with a live Webcam of one of the student's apartments

Dye: We wanted the scenes to be pretty mundane, as voyeuristic scenes actually are. You hope for something to go on, but it rarely does.

Li [Points to a scene of a kid on his computer]: This is what I do every day, from nine to two.


20070416sims_milgram.jpg

Mill of the Mind, by Becky Heritage, Mike Edwards, and Inti Einhorn, MFA students in design and technology
A Sims-world re-creation of the 1961 Milgram experiment, which measured subjects' willingness to give what they thought were painful electric shocks to people, simply because they were ordered to.
Einhorn: Ideally, we want good people to walk away.
Heritage: The people we've tested it on so far, they want to keep shocking.
Amos Barshad