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8-Bit Alchemy


Thursdays in November

8-Bit Alchemy

Co-presented by I Am 8-Bit

Laptops. iPhones. The Internets. Today's technology is so ubiquitous that we hardly even notice it, but until recently, the surfacing of new technologies were met by equal parts fascination and fear. Artists, too, were intrigued by these innovations, and their work was often inspired by these brave new worlds of possibility. 8-Bit Alchemy looks back at what was once the future, to the devices and innovations that eras ago were the apex of scientific expression, and now make for the raw fodder of the junkyard inventor who wants to make a homemade spaceship. We will see how wizards from the past explored the outermost aesthetic reaches of the first computer chips and electronic instruments, and how modern magicians of the machine sift through the garage of our world's past inventions to make art that reminds us of how things once were.

November 5th @ 8:00 PM

8-Bit Alchemy [play]
(feat. The Rock-Afire Explosion!)

In the early '80s, kids all over the country dragged their parents to Showbiz Pizza (created by Atari founder Nolan Bushnell) for the rides, games, and the animatronic rock band The Rock-afire Explosion. Created by 23-year-old prodigy Aaron Fechter, The Rock-afire Explosion amazed children and adults alike before being mysteriously pulled from showrooms and replaced by the now popular Chuck-E-Cheese in the early nineties. Still profoundly affected by his experience at Showbiz Pizza, small-town disc-jockey Chris Thrash sought out Fechter nearly twenty years later and purchased a full Rock-afire band of his own. After some clever modding on Thrash's part, the band was once again performing for millions, this time on YouTube, to the likes of Lil Wayne and MGMT! The Rock-afire Explosion reveals how Thrash revived this fallen robotic gem, alongside the heart-wrenching rise and fall of Fechter's former 300-employee, $20 million-per-year venture. After the film, we'll be screening Thrash's Rock-afire music videos -- plus we'll be recreating Showbiz Pizza for one night only on our back patio, complete with a gallery of vintage arcade consoles! As well, DJ Sysop (from KSPC's "The Retro Video Game Music Show") will be spinning both before and after the film!
Dir. Brett Whitcomb, 2008, digital presentation, 70 min.

Co-presented by KSPC 88.7fm
Tickets - $12

November 12th @ 8pm

8-Bit Alchemy [rewind]
Come see yesterday's tomorrows -- today! Tonight, we'll sift through the last 40 years of big scary machines and all the mysterious things they did. Machines that were, at the time, cutting edge but are now antiquated and often down right quaint. And, compared to today's microchip-fueled, byte-bloated world, this palette for yesteryear's electronic artists was relatively primitive. The solutions they found to work around these limitations is often fascinating. We'll be screening short films by pioneers like Stan Vandeerbek, Eric Siegel among others and some documentaries from that time dealing with everything from synthesizers to computer hacking, a 1969 industrial film's idea of life in 1999 (and see how much they got right and wrong) and various pop cultural detritus showing how we ate it all up (Bubblicious Pac Man TV commercials, news stories on video game trends, etc.) After the show, stick around for a show-and-tell demo of some curious analog contraptions.

Tickets - $10

November 19th @ 8pm

8-Bit Alchemy [fast forward]
Many of today's artists are looking forward by looking back. Fascinated by the huge, chunky blocks of primary colors and all things that go blip in the night, they draw inspiration from the glitches and grit of the ghosts in the machines of yore. Using these crude tools, they express ambiguity and emotions in mediums that were once only considered utilitarian tools for office work or after school amusement. We'll be exhibiting short films from contemporary filmmakers like Jacob Ciocci, Shana Moulton, and Cory Arcangel. Then we kick back and enjoy a performance after film ends by experimental music diviner Daedalus.

Tickets - $10



Experimental / Avant Garde