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Free-to-Play lite

Tabor Robak (American, born 1986). Free-to-Play lite, 2014. Four-channel HD video with custom software, AP 1 from an edition of 3 and 2 APs; 120 x 50 3/8 inches (304.8 x 128 cm), running time: 60 minutes. Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Sherman S. Jewett Fund, by exchange and George B. and Jenny R. Mathews Fund, by exchange, 2015 (2015:7.2a-d). © 2014 Tabor Robak

© Tabor Robak

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Tabor Robak

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

Tabor Robak

American, born 1986

Free-to-Play lite, 2014

four-channel HD video, custom software

Edition: artist's proof 1/2 from an edition of 3

running time: 1 hour; overall: 120 x 50 3/8 inches (304.8 x 127.95 cm)

Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

Sherman S. Jewett Fund, by exchange and George B. and Jenny R. Mathews Fund, by exchange, 2015

2015:7.2a-d

More Details

Provenance

the artist;
Team Gallery, New York;
April 16, 2015, purchased by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo

Class

New media art

Work Type

Digital art (visual work)
Computer art (visual work)

This information may change due to ongoing research. Glossary of Terms

At first glance, Free-to-Play lite recalls the many simple and addictive games that are free to play on social media websites and apps. Specifically, it builds on the model of “match-three” digital games, similar to Bejeweled and Candy Crush Saga, in which the player tries to align three or more similar items on a grid. The artist has said he himself plays such games when “I just want to forget myself and dissolve into nothing.”

Using seven thousand icons that he purchased online, Tabor Robak wrote custom software to create a self-playing “match-three” game. The automatic gameplay produces random, mesmerizing patterns, reminding us that the experience of playing such games is often one of mindless distraction. By having the game “play” itself, Robak prompts us to consider not only the different ways we engage with art today but also how computers are redefining creativity.

Label from We the People: New Art from the Collection, October 23, 2018–July 21, 2019 

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