Axel Stockburger’s Video Game Warriors
Axel Stockburger attracted a lot of attention with his video game warriors, videos of video/computer game players in which he presents the world of video games from a whole new perspective. Stockburger has created a series of video installations involving the act of video/computer game playing in the late 1990s and early 2000s, while his most recent “Transformer” videos involving the transformation into fictional characters and of course the 2011 Ork Warrior video reveal that the artist remains fascinated with the world of video/computer games.
PSX Warriors Tekken (1998)
Stockburger’s first video/computer game installation consists of two videos which present two players playing the popular fighting game Tekken against each other. The two videos are exclusively focused on the faces of the two players and their reactions, mimics and movements during playing. Other than the sound of the game, there is no evidence that a video game is being played. In addition to showing the abstract space that is a production of the game, the artist also comes to an interesting conclusion about the movements and reactions of the players. He concludes that “experienced” players do not have as much body movement as the “newbies”. The duration of the two videos is 1.43 minute.
PSX Warriors: Grand Turismo (2001)
The 3.49 minute video installation shows a young woman playing a racing game. Just like in the PSX Warriors Tekken, the artist focuses on the player’s reactions and facial expressions to show the video game and virtual space. Again, Stockburger notes that “old” players display less movements and facial expressions than people who are new to the world of video/computer games. Tokyo Arcade Warriors – Shinjuku (2003)
The last of the “video game warriors” installations focuses completely on portrayal of three players who were shot at three different locations at Shinjuku in Tokyo. The faces of the players and the sounds of the games are the only evidence that they are playing video games.
About Ork Warrior (2011)
This video installation reveals a major influence of the mentioned “video game warriors” installations but it differs itself from the series in that it actually shows the game that is being played and how, while the player is wearing a mask of a fictional character. In contrary to first series of “video game warriors”, the main purpose of this video installation is not to show the virtual space on the “inter-face” of the player but rather the thin line between virtual and real worlds.