Virtual Laumeier, 2011–12
Laumeier Sculpture Park Commission, gift of the artist
Virtual Laumeier combines the simple pleasures of gaming with the complications of everyday life experienced as a high-art video game. Commissioned for Laumeier's 2011 Kranzberg Exhibition Series, Electric is the Love, this virtual game design for Laumeier was created by modifying the platform for the popular video game Minecraft. The game is used as a canvas in which the Park's 105 acres have been rendered as blocks in a fixed-grid pattern. The topography of the Park, including the buildings and the artworks in the Outdoor Collection, become textured cubes in a 3-D world.
Derington works within a vanguard of a new “art game” movement that opposes the game world’s commercial origins, seeking instead for a complex experience using lo-fi graphics and clever story lines. The goal for Derington’s Virtual Laumeier was to “elicit purpose,” pushing his assistants—or “virtual curators”—to do more than "play the game” by using the digital source material to expand Laumeier into another dimension. Derington and his “virtual curators” have crudely, yet beautifully, reconstructed the Park’s artworks, the stacks of pixels capturing their essence within a virtual space and transporting the visitor experience to the digital realm.
Dave Derington earned his B.S. from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1992 and his M.S. in Computational Chemistry from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 2002. He creates software for pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries and founded the company Warfactory in 2005. Derington teaches video game-related courses at Webster University in St. Louis, and was included in Laumeier's 2011 Kranzberg Exhibition Series, Electric is the Love.