Harbor Islands

Boston Cyberarts and the National Parks of Boston are proud to present the latest digital artwork on the Harbor Islands Welcome Center’s LED screens on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Conservancy. Anthony Montuori has created Harbor Islands, a working video game in the style of Asteroids that plays itself based on weather data collected from the Boston Harbor Islands. The piece imitates the retro arcade trope of games that would demo themselves until someone pressed start or inserted a quarter. Using scraps of the history of video games, all iconographic bits have been plucked from titles that the artist played as a child. The game utilizes actual harbor wind direction and speed, humidity and temperature to mediate its play. The opening reception is held in conjunction with ArtWeek Boston.

Anthony Montuori is an artist who lives and works in Greater Boston. He is currently making video games that deal with a ‘post-recession’ malaise and existential dread. Through the seductive appeal of play, a seemingly optimistic, but ultimately defeatist attitude is revealed. The Adventures of Sisyphus has players push a boulder up a hill until they give up and walk away; Debtris is the classic game Tetris played for federal minimum wage to hypothetically pay off the artist’s student loan debt; Super Maria is an homage to the great Super Mario and his relentless attempts to collect coins, now used as a means to buy furniture and live out the life-expectancy of the player character to its inevitable end. Using the medium in as deadpan a way possible, Montuori works to position video games as an expressive platform for atypical work and to subvert the rich iconography so closely associated with gaming and its culture.

Boston Cyberarts, the National Parks of Boston, and Boston Harbor Now have collaborated on an ongoing project to commission public algorithmic art for display on the LED screens at the park Welcome Center on the Greenway between Fanueil Hall and the Ferry Ticket Center on Long Wharf. Boston Cyberarts commissions algorithmic artists, asking them to write computer programs that will create real time generative art that will be constantly changing. This program ties into the innovative strengths of the Boston area, using digital art algorithms to heighten the interest in Boston Harbor’s history and natural complex ecosystems.

launched by George Fifield in 1999 with seed funding from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, is an umbrella for several ventures – the Boston Cyberarts Gallery, Art on the Marquee at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and the Harbor Island Welcome Center Screens in Boston’s Greenway Conservancy.

Cyberart encompasses any artistic endeavor in which computer technology is used to expand artistic possibilities – that is, where the computer’s unique capabilities are integral elements of the creative process in the same way that paint, photographic film, musical instruments, and other materials have always been used to express an artist’s vision.
Boston Cyberarts is grateful for the support of many generous individuals and institutions, including the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority. Further information on Boston Cyberarts is available by visiting www.bostoncyberarts.org, calling 617.524.8495 or emailing.
The National Parks of Boston is a collection of three National Park Service sites – Boston National Historical Park, Boston African American National Historic Site, and Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park. Established by individual legislation and for designated purposes, the three units have come together under a unified organizational umbrella to collaborate in ways that celebrate our nation’s cultural heritage, reconnect people to history and nature, and provide outdoor recreation opportunities on land and on the water. nps.gov/boaf, nps.gov/bost, bostonharborislands.org.