Tag Archives: WOW

World of World (artist’s book)

WOW softcoverWorld of World (hardback)

Left: World of World (paperback); open edition, 20 pages, 8 x10 inches: $50

Right: World of World (hardback); signed, numbered edition of 10 on satin paper with a black linen hardcover, 20 pages, 8.5×11 inches: $500SORRY OUT OF PRINT AND OUT OF STOCK

"World of World" book, p. 5When I created “World of World: The Adventures of Malbec and Player” in 2009, I also made a limited edition artist’s book of the project. At 2×12-feet, that piece was so large I wanted a version that was more portable and that also favored reading over looking. The text in the piece was a crucial part of the project, but it’s the element that gets the least attention in an exhibition setting.

For the book, I wanted to keep the borderless look of the original, that sense of expansiveness and layering, so I took a very simple approach: I divided the piece into 16 roughly equal-sized sections, and each section became a full page in the book, reading from left to right. I had to make some adjustments along the way, mainly to ensure that the text areas didn’t get broken up, so the final book includes about nine-tenths of the original. Fragmenting the piece into book form gave it an explosive quality I hadn’t expected—the images really push the confines of their pages. And as I hoped, the text became a much more central and dominant element.

"World of World" book, p. 10"World of World", 2009 (book)I researched the then-current state of on-demand book printing and made some comparison tests to decide which service created the highest quality books. This edition is printed by Shutterfly, which has excellent printing quality and also gives artists an exceptional amount of control over the final book design (including such matters as whether the company’s logo appears—it does not in this edition). I have also found them very helpful to deal with and responsive to user questions.(I know my full-spread image is not very good, but I wanted to get something up at least temporarily until I can shoot it properly.)

More information about the entire project, as well as the print editions of “World of World”, is over on this page.

“World of World” is also available as:

Posted in 2010, books | Also tagged , , |

World of World (small)



“World of World: The Adventures of Malbec and Player”: the full print, 10×40″, on a single piece of archival paper stock, open edition, signed by the artist: $285

For other editions, see foot of page.

WorldOfWorld-5A-medI created this work at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009. “World of World: The Adventures of Malbec and Player” is a four-panel (modular) digital print totaling 2 feet by 12 feet and it’s one for which I have a special fondness.

I’m a longtime player in RPGs, starting with Gemstone II back in the 1990s and continuing through Lineage to World of Warcraft. The idea behind the piece was to explore the complicated relationship that develops between players in RPGs and their avatars, but from the avatar’s point of view.

So it begins with how the avatar views the player and the player’s artificial (from the avatar’s point of view) world, as if the avatar were the protagonist and the player were the toon. That’s why you initially see the avatar, Malbec, from behind, examining the Player through his WOW interface. At the same time it acknowledges that the two—in this case, a female Death Knight and a male gamer—are one, existing as a kind of functional temporary split personality.WorldOfWorld-5B-med

Malbec is one of my ‘alts’ in World of Warcraft, which I’ve been playing for about four years now. I created her to reflect as clearly as possible the gendered fantasies embedded in WOW programming. She has the tall, large-breasted, lithe-verging-on-anorexic body build of the socially controlled female, but with tail and faun-like lower limbs that inevitably suggest an innate and ‘naturally’ uncontrollable bestiality. She dresses in skimpy costumes—who needs armor?—but, as a warrior, swings an absurdly large and jag-toothed sword.

WorldOfWorld-5C-medFor the purposes of this piece, her Player is postulated as male, since that is still the largest category of WOW gamers, and those whose desires are most clearly reflected in the programming of WOW’s various avatar types. And of course many of them role-play as females, a tendency much commented on in the RPG literature. And not least, the piece was in part an expression of my own frustrations with the horrible misogyny, homophobia, racism, and xenophobia that infect a subset of players and which they feel completely free to express in the chat areas. They may indeed represent only a small percentage of the WOW player base, but for me a primary issue is that their sense of entitlement points to a much larger problem of silent acquiescence among the other players.WorldOfWorld-5D-med

Researching and shooting this project was a lot of fun. I worked with director Robert Allen, and he found just the right actor to be the Player—the terrific Peter Uribe—and Pete in turn found us our shooting location: the gaming den in someone’s apartment. I knew I wanted to use it the second that I saw the fake-brick wall and the photomural of Manhattan taking up another entire wall. I shot all the Player’s ‘scenes’ using a webcam because I love how the low-rez quality of webcams creates an artificial reality of its own for its users, one that I see as a kind of inverted mirror of the high-rez artifice of WOW itself.

excerpt from the text overlay of "World of World"

excerpt from the text overlay of “World of World”

I collected a small library of webcam shots to help me think about look and feel, color, texture, and so on, and in the course of doing so I noticed that certain kinds of expressive enactments crop up over and over on webcams. Dancing, making funny faces, kissing the camera, cuddling stuffed animals, and holding up cellphones to show off pictures of your honey are among the most popular moves. Some of these got integrated into the final narrative arc of the piece, which moves loosely (left to right) from day to night, play to aggression, sociability to solitude.

raw image from the Player photo shoot

raw image from the Player photo shoot

In addition, the work includes an overlay of running text in the form of an internal monologue structured as an antagonistic but codependent dialogue between Malbec and Player. Malbec’s remarks are in roman type, and the Player’s are in italics. I have this kind of running argument with myself a lot of the time I’m playing WOW, generated in part by the tension between my intense involvement in the game and my aversion to so much of its cultural coding. I play it  for fun and a sense of mastery but my experience of these is constantly tainted with the shame and humiliation that come of voluntarily participating in a misogynistic environment. And at the same time, I’m attracted to it precisely because I cannot be oblivious in my enjoyment; it’s complicated and hence always interesting.

“World of World” was created for the 2009 Laguna Museum exhibition “WOW: Emergent Media Phenomenon,” curated by Grace Kook-Anderson.

“World of World” is also available as:

Posted in 2010, prints | Also tagged , , |

World of World (large)


12 ft x 2 ft, archival print face-mounted to plexiglass in four contiguous sections.

Edition of 10 signed and numbered by the artist, $9000. A few still available; email me if interested.


opening of "WOW: Emergent Media Phenomenon"

opening of “WOW: Emergent Media Phenomenon” (photo courtesy of Eric Stoner)

“World of World” was originally created in a special limited edition of 10 signed, numbered, and mounted digital prints for the 2009 Laguna Museum show “WOW: Emergent Media Phenomenon” curated by Grace Kook-Anderson. (More information about this project and its open editions can be found on this page.)

World of World (panel A)

World of World (panel A)

Each work in this edition consists of four 2×3-foot panels printed on Fujicolor Crystal Archive paper and face-mounted to plexiglass on a backing of acid-free Sintra. When these panels are hung contiguously, the images flow together to make up a single, seamless 2×12-foot work.

The modular design means that the panels can also be hung individually instead.

“World of World” is also available as:

Posted in 2010, prints | Also tagged , , , , |

World of World (A)

World of World (panel A)

World of World (A):  16 x 20″, on archival paper stock: $175

This is the lefthand of the four panels that make up the full World of World print. It is a standalone glimpse into the world of the player and the avatar.

“World of World” is also available as:

Posted in 2016, prints | Also tagged , , |

World of World, softcover edition

WOW softcover

Recently I created a softcover edition of my World of World book. Check out this page for details and price.

Posted in 2014, latest | Also tagged , |