Friday, Aug 22, 2014 07:35 pm est

New gallery highlights capitalist culture in Sims

Posted on November 15, 2012 | by Jonathan Keshishoglou

To anyone going to the Team Gallery building on Wooster Street in SoHo, the view from inside will reveal a front lawn, a bedroom, a bathroom and a living room all colored white, with the word “Nemesims” written on the mailbox. This unusual setup is the latest creation from Markus Muntean and Adi Rosenblum, a pair of Austria-based artists who have recreated a house from the popular video game, “The Sims.”

“The Sims,” a video game series created by Will Wright, focuses on following a group of people, called Sims, and ensures they are as happy as possible. Often, increasing their happiness levels involves buying consumer goods such as furniture and artwork.

For Muntean and Rosenblum, “The Sims” creates a culture in which worldly objects are required to make people happy. The artists believe the game is impossible to win, and players can only keep their Sims happy by accumulating wealth.

“‘The Sims’ can be thought of as a virtual training ground for contemporary consumer culture, making explicit capitalist conceptions of happiness,” said Emma Fernberger, an assistant curator at Team Gallery.

If players choose, they can starve or emotionally deprive their Sims, as the god-like status of the player allows for numerous possibilities. “The Nemesims” plays with its viewers by placing them inside a house, as if they are Sims themselves.

“The viewer moves through the artificial living space as the avatar, experiencing the constructed environment from within, thusly becoming the malleable consumer rather than the god-like controlling hand,” Fernberger said.

The focus of the exhibit is on the pieces of art decorating the walls rather than the house itself. These paintings, by artists including Alexander Calder, William Eggleston, Gilbert & George, Keith Haring and many others, convey the main theme the exhibit seeks to portray: consumerism in modern culture. The artwork satirizes and berates the fascination with worldly objects that are necessary to the Sims’ happiness and the happiness of people in modern society.

Some disagree with the idea that “The Sims” has an unintentional capitalist agenda. Buying things for the characters is only one of the numerous ways to make them happy while many of the newer versions of the game also focus on building relationships between the characters.

“The point of The Sims isn’t consumerism, it’s escapism,” said Tisch freshman Valeria Rotella. “It’s creating your own ideal world and getting away from real problems. A lot of people like ‘The Sims’ for its emotional parts, as opposed to just building big houses.”

Regardless of these competing ideas, “Nemesims” is an interesting experience for anyone curious about consumerism or modern art.

“Nemesims” will be on display through Dec. 21 at the Team Gallery at 47 Wooster.

A version of this article appeared in the Thursday, Nov. 15 print edition. Jonathan Keshishoglou is a contributing writer. Email him at features@nyunews.com.

Comments

CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
CLOSE [x]
profile portrait
Felipe De La Hoz

Multimedia Editor | Felipe De La Hoz is a Colombian national studying journalism at the College of Arts and Sciences. Having been born in Colombia and raised in the United States, Mexico and Brazil, Felipe is a trilingual travel aficionado and enjoys working in varied and difficult environments. Apart from his photography, Felipe enjoys investigative reporting and interviews, interviewing the likes of Colombian ex-M-19 guerrilla fighters and controversial politician Jimmy McMillan. He has covered everything from governmental conferences to full-blown riots, as well as portraiture shoots and dining photography. Having worked under Brazilian photojournalists for Reuters and AFP, Felipe hopes to one day work on demanding journalistic projects and contribute to the global news cycle.

AS
Ann Schmidt

News Editor | Ann is a liberal studies sophomore who lived in Florence during her freshman year. She plans on double-majoring in journalism and political science and is always busy. She is constantly making lists and she loves to laugh.

 

DY
Daniel Yeom

Daniel started at the Features desk of WSN last Spring, writing restaurant reviews whilst indulging on free food and consequently getting fat. Last Fall, he was the dining editor, and he this semester he is senior editor. Daniel is in Gallatin (living the dream) studying Food & Travel Narratives, incorporating aspects of Food Studies, Journalism, and Media, Culture, and Communication. He loves food more than life itself.

Hannah Luu

Deputy Multimedia Editor | Hannah Luu is a ridiculously great Deputy Multimedia Editor. She is a sophomore from Northern California. If you think Northern California means San Francisco you might need to closely examine a map. She is passionate about NPR and being half Asian.

CLOSE [x]
  • How to join:

    The Washington Square News holds open weekly budget meetings at its office located at 838 Broadway every Sunday. All are welcome to attend, no matter your background in journalism, writing, or reporting. Specific times for meetings by desk are listed below. If you wish to talk to an editor before you attend, feel free to check out the Staff page.

    NEWS FEATURES MULTIMEDIA SPORTS ARTS OPINION
    5 P.M. 6 P.M. 6 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 6:30 P.M. 7 P.M.

    Applying for an editor position: Applications for editor positions during the fall or spring semesters are available twice each academic year and can be found here when posted. Applications for the Fall 2012 semester are closed, but check back for Spring 2013. Those who wish to apply are urged to publish pieces in the newspaper and contact current editors for shadowing.

    History of the Washington Square News:

    The Washington Square News is the official daily student newspaper of New York University and serves the NYU, Greenwich Village, and East Village communities. Founded as an independent newspaper in 1973, the WSN allows its undergraduate writers and photographers to cover campus and city news and continues to grow its strong body of award-winning journalists and photographers.

  • The WSN has a circulation of about 60,000 and can be found in over a hundred purple bins distributed throughout campus. It is published Monday through Thursday during the fall and spring semesters and online on Friday, with additional special issues published in the summer. The newspaper recently revamped its website during the Fall 2012 semester.

    Like few campus newspapers in the country, the paper is editorially and financially independent from the university and is solely responsible for selling advertisements to fund its production. The WSN, including its senior staff, is run solely by current undergraduate students and the business-division is largely student-operated as well.

    A Board of Directors comprised of alumni, NYU professors and working news media professionals serves as advisors to the paper. Board members have no control in the WSN's editorial policy or newsroom operations. Alumni of the newspaper are established and leading journalists in such news organizations as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NBC news, ABC news, Fox News, and USA Today.

    Next