Radical Action and Pure Joy:
David OReilly’s Video Game Everything in the Context of Game Art, Art History, and a new Gamic Avant-garde

In the beginning I was an elephant. My first playthrough of David OReilly’s videogame Everything started in the pachyderm’s thick skin. Shortly after that I entered a beetle’s body, transformed into pollen, and back into a beetle. I controlled tufts of grass and turned into a palm tree. At one point I became a rubber duck, a snooker table, a set of conga drums, an electric guitar. I transformed into an island, a sun, a galaxy, becoming everything at once, incorporating everything that is included in it at the same time. On the one hand, David OReilly’s Everything plays with this permanent change of perspective, enabling the player to experience the game’s world as another entity. On the other hand, the game utilizes change of scale resulting in the fact that the object incarnated before becomes the measure of the following object. The outcome is a journey from a small into a large universe, from micro- to macrocosmos, and back again, comparable to Ray and Charles Eames’s famous experimental film Powers of 10 from 1977.

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Prof. Dr. phil. Stephan Schwingeler (*1979) is professor for Media Studies at HAWK University of Applied Sciences and Arts.

His first book deals with the topic of space in video games and is one of the first art historical publications in the field of Game Studies. His Ph.D. thesis and second book examines the practices and strategies of Game Art and artistic video game modification from the perspective of art history and media theory. In the last couple of years he was also Professor for Game Design in Stuttgart and was responsible for running the GameLab at the Karlsruhe University of Arts and Design. Among other exhibitions and events he was responsible as a curator for the exhibition „ZKM_Gameplay” at the internationally renowned ZKM | Center for Art and Media in Karlsruhe. His exhibition “Global Games” presents videogames as political media. Based on “Global Games” the Goethe-Institut, in cooperation with ZKM, is currently touring worldwide through over 40 countries across the globe. Other curated exhibitions include „New Gameplay“ at (Nam June Paik Art Center, South Korea), „Digital Games“ (Ludwigforum, Aachen, Germany).