If you are a Nintendo fan then I’m sure you’ve been designing your Animal Crossing island and trying to kick out your least favorite villager for the past few months like the rest of us. Even the non-video gamers out there might have heard about Nintendo’s latest release, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, that quickly became an overnight sensation around the world. The timing of the release lined up perfectly with the beginning of the COVID-19 quarantine back in March, which greatly contributed to its success. The game allows the player to build and design their own tropical island from the ground up, which takes plenty of time (as the game is synchronized to real time zones) – something we all had way too much of at the start of quarantine.
Players can also visit their friends’ islands, which became especially fun during a time when seeing your friends in real life was impossible. People started throwing Animal Crossing parties, meeting up on one person’s island and using the Nintendo Voice Chat app to communicate. There was an instance in Japan where a company held a business meeting on someone’s island, attempting to recreate in person meetings when all business was really conducted remotely from home.
In the age of COVID-19, we’ve seen so many museums and galleries try to create virtual online art experiences, from tours to interactive sites and videos. People everywhere are eager to have access to art again in any way possible. Now, works by Andy Warhol are available in the world of Animal Crossing!
Writer and producer Jake Fogelnest has recreated Warhol’s famous experimental film “Chelsea Girls” on his own Animal Crossing island. In partnership with the Andy Warhol Museum, Fogelnest has created a theatre with two 16mm projectors and two screens which plays the short film on a loop. “Chelsea Girls” has no cohesive narrative, instead Warhol filmed clips in both black and white and in color of some of his friends and muses, such as German singer Nico, American poet and photographer Gerard Malanga and American actress Mary Woronov, all to a soundtrack by Velvet Underground, the alt-rock band that Warhol managed.
Fogelnest’s endeavor to bring Warhol’s art to people on this untraditional platform is yet another example of how the art world is adapting in this new digital era, and specifically handling COVID-19 restrictions. Traditional art lovers might not understand what place Andy Warhol’s art might have in a video game like Animal Crossing, but what should be appreciated is the ingenuity of getting involved in these digital spaces. The future of the arts lies in the younger generations and meeting them where they are to expose them to the works of Andy Warhol and the like can only be seen as a great innovation of art education.