The Museum of the Moving Image in New York has installed Videofreak, a video manipulation device in the style of an arcade game, created by Allen Riley. The installation is being displayed in the Hearst Lobby, where visitors to the museum can interact with it.

Allen Riley conceived this installation during a residency at the Lower East Side Ecology Center in July-August 2016. While on residency, he had access to various bits of video hardware which he repurposed, connecting the elements in a feedback loop and encasing them in a cabinet to create a unique gaming experience.

Allen Riley at the Lower East Side Ecology Center, July-August 2016. Courtesy of the artist.

Riley has also incorporated stylistic elements from vertically-scrolling bullet hell games, most notably Cave's DoDonPachi (1997). The addition of circuit-bending controls allow people to engage in manipulating video and audio output in the style of an arcade game.

Inspired by the participatory ethos of the Videofreex art collective that was active in the late 1960s and 70s, Riley's approach follows the legacy of experimenting in video media and audio synthesis tools which they were the first to pioneer. He  presents it in an easily accessible, familiar and nostalgic format to the wider public, while transcending the pattern of scorekeeping and end goals that is typical of gaming.

The Museum of the Moving Image is dedicated to the preservation, curation and advancement of the art, history, technique and technology of film, television and digital media. Riley's installation is on display at the Museum until September 8, 2024. More information about this exhibition and the artist's work can be found here and here.

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