BUFFALO, N.Y. — One of the very first things you’ll see when you walk into the Albright-Knox Northland facility these days is two computers set up along a black statement wall with pink flowers. Each machine sits underneath a framed photo of Kanye West.
It’s a game called “Ye or Nay.”
“It’s basically like a digital version of Guess Who or Battleship, where each player is assigned a random character, and your goal is to guess the other person’s character,” Tina Ryan of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery told 2 On Your Side. “The twist is every single character is a black male celebrity, including Kanye West, and there’s multiple Kanyes from throughout his life.“
The creation is the work of game designer A.M. Darke, and part of the Difference Machines exhibit now on display at AK Northland. Ryan and Paul Vanouse are the co-curators.
“Normally when you go to an art museum you may not expect to see works that move, that change. That are interactive. That are things that you can touch,” Ryan said. “But this show specifically features new media art, which is art that uses technology, like video technologies, or computers, or the internet.”
The pieces take a closer look at how these technologies have contributed to systematic inequality and social injustices, with a focus on empowerment.
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“Digital tools are actually empowering people from marginalized communities to be able to find each other. To change the narrative about them,” Ryan explained. “Those two ideas run through the show. Learning about the dangers of technology, but also about the promises of technology.”
Ryan and Vanouse think of the interactive space they’ve created as more of a laboratory, than a museum.
“It’s a kind of a show that you can stay for a while,” Vanouse said. “Some of the pieces, you can spend 15 minutes with and not get to the end of. It’s also an exhibition that we encourage you to come into and feel like it’s somewhere in between an art exhibition, a video screening, and the library. We want people to come into the space, really explore the works, and realize you can be comfortable here.”
Albright-Knox Northland is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays on a pay what you wish basis. You can learn more and sign up for a time to visit here.
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