January 27, 2014 – April 4, 2014
Jim Munroe is a self-described “indie culture maker,” producing science fiction novels, designing indie videogames, and making lo-fi sci-fi films. Five years ago he co-founded The Hand Eye Society, a not-for-profit videogame arts organization, and currently serves as its executive director. As artist-in-residence at the AGO, Munroe worked with the public to eliminate cultural barriers that surround “low-brow” art and encouraged the production and celebration of videogames as a nascent art form.
During his residency, Munroe hosted Fancy Videogame Party in coordination with Wild Rumpus and the Hand Eye Society. They brought together some of the very best multi-player, party, and physical videogames from around the world for one night only at the AGO. Part arcade, part club night, part art gallery, the party happened Feb. 21, 2014, in the AGO’s Weston Family Learning Centre.
As part of Jim Munroe’s exploration of videogame culture, three video arcade cabinets, known as the Torontrons, were set up in the AGO’s Community Gallery during his residency. The Torontrons are rescued, classic arcade cabinets that have been updated to play contemporary videogames by local artists. The Torontrons have a physical, public presence that creates a spectacle, attracting a community of players, supporters, and interested passersby.
At the March edition of Meet the Artists, Jim Munroe was joined in conversation with fellow indie culture artists Mark Connery and Jonathan Mak to discuss their work, indie culture, and how playfulness factors into their practices.