Case Study: Cory Arcangel

Cory Arcangel is an artist and performer who works with early computers, the Internet, and video game systems. He is best known for his Nintendo game cartridge hacks, and his reworking of obsolete computer systems of the 1970s and '80s, such as the Commodore 64 and Atari 800. Arcangel often works with the art collective/record label Beige, a loosely defined ensemble of artists and programmers who work collaboratively in digital media. Beige has produced videos, Web projects, and albums of electronic music, as well as modified Nintendo video game cartridges. Arcangel is also a member of the collective Radical Software Group (RSG).

Arcangel's works often assume multiple forms and iterations for specific contexts and audiences. A single work can move from source code to installation to video. For example, Super Mario Clouds, a Nintendo cartridge hack, originated as a downloadable Internet art piece, which was replicated, mutated and re-circulated by like-minded hackers. The same work was then reborn as a multi-projection installation that was shown in gallery and museum exhibitions and sold as an edition. Finally, Arcangel created a single-channel video version that is distributed to educational and cultural audiences. This case study looks at this and other works by Arcangel to explore the implications of their mutability for exhibition, collection and preservation.