Retroyou RC, 1999 Series

Joan Leandre

13 December 1999

Joan Leandre / 1999 / Spain

Joan Leandre’s “retroyou R/C, 1999” is a visually compelling work of software-based art in which the artist, in three demonstrable steps, deconstructs the software code of an obscure car racing PC game. In the first hack, “FCK the Gravity Code,” Leandre removes the function of gravity in the game, allowing the cars to float above the ground. By the third iteration, “Butterfly Overflow,” the game’s spaces are reworked into a dizzying, hypnotic abstraction. Though Leandre’s variations are significant departures, the original game’s architecture remains intact, producing a new kind of experiential environment that the original software was not intended to create, one where the logics of narrative and play have come undone.