Sly Lost Games Installation

Paul Goodfellow

Research output: Non-textual formArtefact


Sly Lost Games, (2011) is a systems based artwork presented as installation consisting of 2 computers, 2 screens and 9 paintings. This was shown at Gallery North along side the show, 'Working Against the system', at Gallery North, 11.0.2011- 08.04.2011 'In 1971 Hans Haacke proposed a Guggenheim show in which a caged bird repeated the words ‘All systems go’. Haacke could not train the bird to repeat the phrase though, and the project was treated as a conceptual proposal. The suggestion in the title is that ultimately all systems are open, and subject to failure or uncontrollable factors. In an earlier work, (Chickens Hatching, 1970), Haacke had created a controllable system that relied on a simple feedback system to control the hatching of chicks. This contrasts with ‘All systems go’, as the later work relied upon a parameter that could not easily be moderated in a system; namely the bird talking. Sly Lost Games sought to address the space between these two works; that is, control in systems based art, and the practical limitations of imposing rules in art. In particular I was interested in the role of the artist and viewer in submitting to a particular roles within art. The basis of Sly Lost Games is an algorithm that seeks to find a pattern. The computer program randomly re-order the letters: ‘ALL SYSTEMS GO’, to form the phrase ‘All systems go’. The computer program ran for the duration of the exhibition on a computer. Each letter was assigned a colour and these random combinations were displayed on a monitor in the gallery as spots. A second monitor displayed the index of letters to colour. On the adjacent wall there were nine spot paintings based on phrases that were randomly generated. The viewer was able to decode the paintings on a superficial level by following the computer program’s index. In so doing they colluded in the system by bridging the gap between the random patterns and the painted phrases.' Text: Paul Goodfellow, 2011
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTransition Editions
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 8 Apr 2011
EventWorking Against the System - Gallery North, Newcastle
Duration: 8 Apr 2011 → …


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