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Bubsy 3D: Bubsy Visits the James Turrell Retrospective

Developer / Publisher: Arcane Kids
2013
Bubsy 3D: Bubsy Visits the James Turrell Retrospective - cover art
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115 Ratings / 2 Reviews
#2,457 All-time
#112 for 2013
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Title
I tell people my first experience with James Turrell was working with Wedgework V (1974) over the summer of 2014/15, as it was included in the travelling blockbuster exhibition Light Show. The truth is I had played the web browser version of Bubsy 3D: Bubsy Visits the James Turrell Retrospective two years prior on the shitty computer under the stairs at my dad's house, and only this Turrell encounter actually moved me to tears. It irritated me and made me laugh too, but good art should do all of these things. This is not to say that Turrell's work is inferior to Bubsy 3D because of its simplicity, but that Bubsy 3D: Bubsy Visit the James Turrell Retrospective draws the artifice of Turrell's work into something irritating and funny as well as emphatically mortal, which gestures not to the ungraspable cosmos as Turrell's works do, but to something even bigger: to the time after the death of Turrell, to when Turrell's works have been eaten by the sun, to when there's nothing left but an exploding void and no one can ever know what will happen next, to when you're standing alone in the kitchen at 3am with your bare and trembling knees thinking about your childhood and wondering where the time went, to when you're sitting in the grass with the love of your life watching the rowboats go past on the El Retiro lake in Madrid with pizza and wine at sunset, to when you're lying in your deathbed and you're talking to the shadows on the wall and saying, I did it, I collected more yarn balls than anyone ever did, tell me I did it right, and the shadows stretch on with the moon just as the leaves do with the seasons, past the forty or so meaningless yarn balls that you collected against death, past the cold settling in to your lonely death rattle, to the time after James Turrell and the heat death of the universe and the sunset lake where once for just a little while things were good. Sculpting light is architecture, and sculpting art is games. Is that supposed to mean anything? Fuck no. It's art.

In a tour of Kendall Jenner's house she takes the time to point out the Turrell she has installed, which she uses to meditate. Her sister Kylie last year installed a Turrell in her hallway, and Kourtney has three installed above her bed. They were introduced to his work through Kanye West, who donated the millions Turrell needed to finish the Roden Crater project he began when he acquired the land in 1979, the year before Kim Kardashian was born. There is a clear connection between Turrell's practice and the musician's, in that they both sculpt forms out of the intangible, forms you would swear you could touch and feel and which alter the space around you but which you can nevertheless walk through because really it's a distortion of what's already there and what's still there when the lights go out. Like all blockbuster exhibitions, Light Show drew in huge numbers of people, dazzled them, and then left. Wedgework V was installed down a black painted corridor that bent at a right angle near the beginning and end to stop the light bouncing off the walls, and into a pitch black carpeted space between the walls of the exhibition. The 'frame' was made of perspex so that it would glow, and people would stand in this room, disoriented at first and then in awe of the hazy glow of Wedgework V. It looked like gas, or like water, or like an infinitely receding and expanding photograph of the soul or of God, that would pull you into its infinite nothingness and make you breathe it like oxygen and maybe never leave. I would wait a while and then say 'look at this' and stick my hand into it, which usually always led to the group emitting gasps before joining me. If that wasn't enough I'd shine a flashlight into it so they could see the empty room responsible for the appearance of God. The line was always very long because people like lining up for things. Nobody knew or gave a shit about Wedgework V lining up, but most people liked it by the time they left. Then one particularly busy day the line got out of hand and I had to trim the 'exploration' step a bit before asking if people would like the mechanics of the work revealed with the flashlight. It went well until, near the end of my shift, an ex-gallerist threw herself in front of the flashlight and scolded me in front of the group for spoiling the magic of Turrell.

Her position was that the world needs mystification, and that the great unexplainable arts are there to serve that function. I disagree. I don't think being ignorant makes the world more beautiful or interesting. Being ignorant makes you more impressionable, superstitious, and conservative. I think the more you learn about something the more magical it becomes, and the more open you become to learning more, humbled as you are of what you don't know. Ironically it is the idiot who thinks they already know everything, so turn off the flashlight and stop asking questions. The magic of Wedgework V is that it is both an empty room with some lights set up, and it is the soul, or God, or the particles we overlook in the atmosphere, or the revelation that there is no God or soul or divine presence, it's all just a play of lights. The artwork is both the material object and everything else it points to and becomes and stirs. Its radical meaninglessness is what gives way to the artwork's meaning, and to believe only in the illusion is to pledge yourself to ignorance or solipsism at the expense of the world's beauty which is also, as it happens, the beauty of art. Life, like art, means something precisely because it doesn't mean a fucking thing. I think James Turrell knows this well, I think Kanye West knows this well, and I think Bubsy 3D: Bubsy Visits the James Turrell Retrospective knows this best of all.
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nostalghia 2018-05-29T01:49:45Z
2018-05-29T01:49:45Z
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There's something undeniably bitter about the whole experience of Bubsy 3D: Bubsy Visits the James Turrell Retrospective. I think a version of me from a couple years ago would have found this at least a little interesting, but at this point all I see is just irony on top of irony on top of irony. The issue with internet irony and post-irony is that it's a distancer, it's a deliberate refusal to be genuine even for a second.

But even when you pull it apart it's just, like, high school nihilism. Ok dude, art sucks, life sucks, we're all gonna die, whatever, man. Ironically, in the traditional sense, this game spends most of its time shitting on what it perceives to be "stuck-up postmodern art that thinks it's smarter than it is", while also being a piece of postmodern art that has pretty much nothing interesting or emotionally resonant to say. It's kinda neat visually and it's pretty short, but at the end of the day it really just feels like it's sour for the sake of being sour. If you want to see postmodern artists take the piss out of themselves just watch The Comedy (2012) instead.
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tdstr 2023-10-12T06:57:04Z
2023-10-12T06:57:04Z
1.5
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Well, on the one hand, as loving tributes to notorious complete and utter failures go, it's a hell of a lot better than Ed Wood.

On the other hand, what the everloving fuck did I just play?
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Iai 2017-01-07T21:56:37Z
2017-01-07T21:56:37Z
3.3
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anitahegerland Bubsy 3D: Bubsy Visits the James Turrell Retrospective 2024-05-10T03:34:25Z
2024-05-10T03:34:25Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
BoreCanal Bubsy 3D: Bubsy Visits the James Turrell Retrospective 2024-04-10T01:05:58Z
2024-04-10T01:05:58Z
3.0
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
TheProtoHipster Bubsy 3D: Bubsy Visits the James Turrell Retrospective 2024-03-22T23:38:04Z
2024-03-22T23:38:04Z
3.0
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eliottstaten Bubsy 3D: Bubsy Visits the James Turrell Retrospective 2024-03-16T09:37:05Z
2024-03-16T09:37:05Z
In collection Want to buy Used to own  
kristenisshe Bubsy 3D: Bubsy Visits the James Turrell Retrospective 2024-02-19T02:34:09Z
2024-02-19T02:34:09Z
4.0
1
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fryuts11 Bubsy 3D: Bubsy Visits the James Turrell Retrospective 2024-02-15T02:47:54Z
2024-02-15T02:47:54Z
3.0
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5.555598416172731e+23 Bubsy 3D: Bubsy Visits the James Turrell Retrospective 2024-02-04T22:45:36Z
2024-02-04T22:45:36Z
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NibiruShiranui Bubsy 3D: Bubsy Visits the James Turrell Retrospective 2024-02-03T04:45:46Z
2024-02-03T04:45:46Z
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Audio1111111 Bubsy 3D: Bubsy Visits the James Turrell Retrospective 2024-02-01T02:52:37Z
2024-02-01T02:52:37Z
5.0
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sk3rk Bubsy 3D: Bubsy Visits the James Turrell Retrospective 2023-12-29T22:08:25Z
2023-12-29T22:08:25Z
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Yamari Bubsy 3D: Bubsy Visits the James Turrell Retrospective 2023-12-26T14:44:35Z
2023-12-26T14:44:35Z
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LocoJake Bubsy 3D: Bubsy Visits the James Turrell Retrospective 2023-12-12T00:31:30Z
2023-12-12T00:31:30Z
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  • im_singing 2021-05-09 01:16:06.773696+00
    love this game to death
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  • twinkiemachine 2023-01-02 05:23:42.947767+00
    this is what irony poisoning does to a mf
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  • HardBloodNelza 2023-01-17 04:01:07.124941+00
    I don't even know what to think of this
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  • Audio1111111 2024-01-01 16:22:24.53302+00
    PERFECTION
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