Creative Time Launches MetaPet 1.0
New & Improved!!!
MetaPet, the World’s First Transgenic Virtual Pet Game
Creative Time is pleased to launch MetaPet 1.0 (www.metapet.net/www.creativetime.org/metapet), the new and improved online virtual pet game by artist Natalie Bookchin. MetaPet 1.0 further explores the complex social and political issues surrounding genetic engineering and corporate behavior. Introduced a year ago and since then evolving, MetaPet is part of DNAid, Creative Time’s ongoing series of commissions addressing themes and issues related to genetics. Version 1.0 allows for multiple players, cross-platform compatibility, and now features enhanced character capabilities. MetaPet was produced in association with Hamaca.
MetaPet playfully takes on three cultural behemoths: the biotechnology industry, the electronic gaming industry, and corporate culture at large. In MetaPet, the uncooperative worker is replaced with a genetically engineered human "worker-pet" and you, the player, are the manager. As a worker-pet manager, your challenge is to discover the right balance between a firm hand and a gentle coax without ever losing site of the fiscal bottom line. You are responsible for manipulating the physical and psychological characteristics of your worker-pet by offering promotions or vacations and in turn motivating it to work harder and more efficiently. By the same token, you can punish or determine the fate of your worker-pet by withholding benefits or even firing him or her. As managers, MetaPet players are complicit participants in Bookchin’s elaborate corporate infrastructure.
MetaPet also features mini-games by guest artists including: Plagiarist, a.k.a. Amy Alexander, Davis & Davis, Carmin Karasic, Jeff Knowlton, Anne-Marie Schleiner, Naomi Spellman, Karl Mihail and Tran, T. Kim-Trang of the Gene Genies, and Paul Vanouse.
Games allow for free play and discovery within the formal structure of a pre-determined set of rules. From the Surrealists to Fluxus, during the last century artists have been developing various sorts of games. However, with the recent surge of electronic gaming as pastime and the subsequent establishment of the gaming industry as a major cultural force, there is now a niche to be carved between the individual pursuits of artists and the mainstream electronic gaming industry. As the primary sponsor and producer of MetaPet, Creative Time supports the continued development of artist-made computer games, a rapidly expanding territory for independent, creative practitioners.
MetaPet 1.0 can be played at www.metapet.net and www.creativetime.org/metapet. MetaPet 1.0 is the May 2003 Gate Page on the Whitney Museum of American Art’s ARTPORT at www.whitney.org.
Natalie Bookchin is an artist who works with the Internet, computer, games, and other popular media. Her previous game project, The Intruder, was featured in Game Show at Mass MOCA and Animations at P.S.1, and can be played at www.calarts.edu/~bookchin/intruder. During 1999 – 2000 Bookchin organized net.net.net, an eight month series of lectures and workshops on art, activism, and the Internet at CalArts, MOCA in LA and Laboratorio Cinematek in Tijuana. From 1998 to 2000 she was a member of the collective Â®Tmark and from 2001 to 2002 a Guggenheim Fellow. She is currently a faculty member at CalArts in Los Angeles.
Creative Time is a nonprofit arts organization with a thirty-year history of presenting public arts projects of all disciplines, through both grassroots activism and in highly prominent urban venues. From the recent Tribute in Light, the temporary light memorial to 9/11/01, the Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage, Grand Central Terminal, and Times Square to milk cartons, billboards, and skywriting over New York City, Creative Time has a distinguished history of commissioning and presenting art that enhances the public realm. Additionally, Creative Time has a long-held tradition of addressing and provoking discussion of socially relevant topics such as domestic violence, HIV/AIDS pandemic, genetic engineering, and the current proliferation of developing technologies in the arts and society at large. For more information about Creative Time, please visit www.creativetime.org.
MetaPet was produced in association with Hamaca, a platform specialized in production, dissemination, and debate around Net art. The development of MetaPet was made possible, in part, by one of three to four annual grants distributed by Hamaca for Internet-based artistic projects.