The Norman Transcript

N-town Q/A

April 11, 2014

Q&A: Matthew Kaney’s work playful, insightful

NORMAN — by Hannah Cruz

Forget paint or clay, Norman resident Matthew Kaney creates art from virtual materials.

The University of Oklahoma art alumnus uses technology to build video game installations as a form of visual art. Each piece presents the player with a friendly way to grapple with a variety of contemporary issues.

Kaney is showing his work during an exhibit titled “All Fun & Games” at the Firehouse Art Center, 444 S. Flood Ave., through May 24. Two receptions are scheduled in conjunction with the show, 6-9 p.m. April 11 and 6-11 p.m. May 9 at the Firehouse.

For more information on Kaney visit mindofmatthew.com.

Q: What is your main goal when you’re doing a piece?

A: With the games and with a lot of my other interactive pieces, I generally have some sort of — not quite message — but some sort of idea or context that I want to communicate. With these games, each one is my attempt to illustrate some political issue, some sort of contemporary situation, through the lense of these game controls and through a bit of satire, a bit of deliberate reduction in that way, I guess.

I did a game where it runs on a desktop computer and you have this virtual farm land and it has virtual kudzu, and as this virtual kudzu grows the game keeps copying copies of kudzu leaves onto your hard drive into proportion to the game, literally filling up your hard drive with these kudzu. It’s a good example of something that uses the game form, not necessarily to achieve the traditional goals of the medium, but to offer a context or way of thinking about things.

Q: How do you go about building one of these games or installations?

A: Definitely the software comes first and usually I’ll start out with a sense of roughly how the game will be played. You need to have a wide view of what types of controls make sense, what kind of layout schemes — in broad strokes how the game will be played. That’s completely conceptual processing, just sketching and notes and ideas.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
N-town Q/A
  • Q&A: Charlie Hunter and Scott Amendola

    Last month, Jazz in June welcomed guitarist Charlie Hunter and drummer Scott Amendola to Norman for a two-man show that treated music fans to new takes on old and new tunes from the likes of The Cars, Lorde and John Lennon. Hunter’s unique playing style is married to a guitar-bass hybrid that allows him to hold down rhythm and melody. The result: A sound so big that you could hardly believe it was just two people. NTown caught up with the duo before its closing set on June 20 at Brookhaven Village.

    July 11, 2014

  • Q&A: Stuart Whitis finds balance between classical and digital art

    Stuart Whitis finds beauty in the age-old art of painting, but he also holds a fascination for digital creations....

    June 13, 2014

  • Q&A: Elizabeth Wheat on costuming and serendipity

    Elizabeth Wheat is no stranger to costumes. The Minneapolis native made a decade-long career out of dressing the stars of shows like “Will and Grace,” “Criminal Minds,” “My Name is Earl,” “Jonas Brothers” and “Scrubs.” After ...

    May 9, 2014

  • Q&A: Matthew Kaney’s work playful, insightful

    by Hannah Cruz Forget paint or clay, Norman resident Matthew Kaney creates art from virtual materials....

    April 11, 2014

  • Q&A: Joshua Boydston on a creative-driven life

    For many artists, a life of art is one they choose. But for Joshua Boydston, it seems art chose him....

    February 14, 2014

  • Q&A: Emily Ballew Neff comes to OU inspired

    To hear Emily Ballew Neff say it, there’s long been a joke that her mother left her in a basket on the front steps of a museum and she never left. She admits that in many ways, the joke is true: She’s a self-professed “museum rat.” The ...

    January 10, 2014

  • Q&A: Paul Moore’s work a multigenerational passion

    Paul Moore’s beginnings were humble enough, but the Norman resident and University of Oklahoma artist-in-residence is now well-known throughout the state, nationally and internationally....

    December 13, 2013

  • Eagle pendant w Jasper.jpg Q&A: Judy Osburn talks inspiration, jewelry

    Wildlife has long inspired artist Judy Osburn’s work. The Oklahoma native creates animal-themed sterling silver and stone jewelry from her home studio in Norman where she lives with her artist husband, Warren Osburn.  Judy is showing her ...

    November 7, 2013 1 Photo

  • Q&A: Vince Leseney pays forward acting inspiration

    Vince Leseney dabbled in musical theater as a child. But when push came to shove the Des Moines, Iowa, native settled on studying opera at William Jewell College and Oklahoma City University....

    October 11, 2013

  • Q&A: JUURI incorporates inspiration from dual identity

    Julie Robertson’s life is all about balance....

    September 13, 2013