Super Mario Sleeping

Miltos Manetas

19 December 1997

Miltos Manetas / 1997 / USA /Greece / Cortesy of Yvon Lambert Gallery, New York

Part of his ongoing series of photos and videos called “after videogames,” Miltos Manetas’s loops of “Super Mario Sleeping,” as its title implies, feature the titular character in a deep slumber, rhythmically snoring while butterflies flutter about. Yet beneath its surface simplicity is a fundamen- tal expression about the nature of gaming. In the game “Super Mario 64,” when left alone and without input from the player, Mario falls asleep. But Manetas’ video is not without action. What the viewer is in fact seeing – in this consciously isolated, ambient instance – is the machine on its own, an endless rhythm of code running without interruption, a state of “pure process.” Born in Greece and now working in Los Angeles, Manetas was one of the first artists to use and comment on videogame environments in his work.