Shock and Awe

If art is supposed to provoke the viewer, Eva and Franco Mattes are doing their job well. The Italian artists are the masterminds behind, one of the earliest instances of 'net art on the Web. For many years the couple kept their identities secret as they performed actions such as hacking the Vatican website and manufacturing the persona of Darko Maver, who was invited to exhibit at the Venice Biennale before he was revealed as a fake. In recent years, Eva and Franco have been working more publicly as they take on virtual realities and online pastimes such as Second Life and Chatroulette in their work. So it is with their new show, "Colorless, Odorless, and Tasteless." The artists have fitted a videogame with a car engine, for example, that spews carbon monoxide into the gallery when in operation, letting the players control how much of the potentially toxic gas fills the air. The installation raises the question of how good these games really are for us (and how much the videogame industry actually cares). Same goes for My Generation, which depicts youngsters completely losing their crap while absorbed in gaming. You want more disturbing? There's No Fun, in which Franco staged his own suicide on Chatroulette, to be met with almost universal apathy from the viewers he encountered online during the performance. Often controversial and always thoughtful, the Matteses challenge assumptions about new media and reveal its influence on our daily lives.

The opening for "Colorless, Odorless, and Tasteless" starts at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 25.
Tuesdays-Saturdays. Starts: Feb. 25. Continues through April 2, 2011

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