Or: Considered Soberly, With Help From Leif, Laptop is Kinda Great

“Agck! Q-bert!” I exclaimed delightedly, waving my Cuba Libre at the wallpaper in THE UNIT and instantly dating myself. “What is Q-bert?” my 24-year old friend replied. “You know, he hops down blocks that look like [again gesturing to the wallpaper] but I forget what he’s trying to do, eat things or kill things or get somewhere…?” She didn’t know. Four years were enough to separate our technological cultural memories. When she was old enough to play video games, Q-bert’s moment had passed. I remembered before Atari came home, the Arcade Era, the Coney Island, Wild West halcyon days of Galaga, of DigDug. This must be what Katherine Bovee and Philippe Blanc mean by “micro-nostalgia.”
serenadavidson PICA TBA THE WORKS laptop marc aceto_6468
photo credit: Serena Davidson
The Q-bert wallpaper was inspired (and trippy–a reference to psychedelia and op art?), but nothing else in THE UNIT was exciting. An ornately framed oil painting of an obsolete laptop (correction: Macintosh Hard Disk Icon) was a bit too obvious to be engaging (correction: Now that Leif has kindly informed me that I was, in fact, looking at an obsolete Macintosh Hard Disk Icon, I actually do feel engaged by the way the concepts of mobility and iconography were being explored through a traditional art-making technique, which some might consider to be dead. A parallel between Macintosh graphics and the transitions that swept painterly thinking at the close of the Byzantine era can be inferred. I’m a big fan of comment-accepting forums for this very reason. When dealing with art that works through implication, sometimes it takes a village. Additionally, the trash can was a witty touch. I see now that I was, in fact, in the belly of a laptop. I was in the computer, living Tron. The Q-bert wallpaper was the desktop and may not have been intended to inspire thoughts of Q-bert at all. But I hope it was.) There were some cupboards that everyone who came into THE UNIT immediately opened. Were the spare lightbulbs part of the installation? Was the wool blanket? If not, I don’t recommend leaving them in the enticing cupboards; confusion arose. I liked THE UNIT. It was a comfortable, trippy little sanctuary from the crowded Works, like a tent in the backyard. My friend was unimpressed but didn’t condemn Laptop in THE UNIT entirely, commenting “maybe this makes more sense in Beaverton.”
Back inside the Works, Copy was rocking out on his key-tar. “Who is this?” said Mark Wooley, who had suddenly appeared beside us, handing out flyers for a Joan Crawford look-alike contest at the Wonder Ballroom. “This is Copy” said my friend pointing to a monitor where Copy’s name kept appearing along with patterns evocative of primitive video game technology. “Q-bert!” I yelled, pointing at the sign like it was another piece of the puzzle. “Copy?” said Mark Wooley. “It’s his name,” explained my friend, pointing at Copy. Then we all danced.
Jessica Bromer
photo credit: Serena Davidson
photo credit: Serena Davidson

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