Exhibition: Pirates and Young Pioneers / Marsel Onisko
Slovak games developed apace from the 1980s. Thanks to the breakthrough 8-bit ZX Spectrum microcomputer and the consequent production of its clones by Didaktik Skalica in our country, tens of thousands of tech-heads had a computer even before communism fell. Didaktik and ZX Spectrum memories were too limited to store programs – so they had to be rewritten manually line-by-line, or recorded on cassettes and subsequently floppy discs. These programs necessitated studying numerous commands and programming language, so an extremely IT-literate generation of users developed around computing.
The first programs and games largely emerged thanks to after-school computer hobby clubs. Copying and exchanging games wasn’t considered piracy, so software would be swopped for free or bought for a pittance from pirate sellers. Distribution company Ultrasoft’s market arrivalintroduced the concept of making games for profit, although many games continued to be produced and distributed for free. The main inspiration came from foreign games and the Czech company Fuxoft (founded by František Fuka). Due to the low technical requirements, the text adventures genre dominated the 1980s and ’90.
The Pirates and Young Pioneers’ games selection gives an overview of game developments between 1987–1993, and highlights the work of some distinguished game makers whose software was outstanding in terms of quality and content.
Marsel Onisko’s project is an imaginative story of Mr. Eugene – its images can be perceived as a road movie, cartoon or comic strip. The observer Eugene cannot be seen. Surreal, almost absurd situations make viewers smile. Even though nobody wants to be him, there is a piece of Eugene in everyone. Together with the filmmaker La Aramisova from Žilina, the author is art director of the art magazine Panic Button, and a member of the Žilina-Uzhhorod association Fly United. He is a philology graduate and self-taught artist. Since the Ukrainian conflict broke out, Marsel has been designing posters for the Stanica cultural centre. He is an unwritten member of the Zakarpattian Oblast’s Poptrans art group. The exhibition had its 2016 home premiere at the ArtSvit Gallery in Dnipropetrovsk, followed by the Garry Bowman Gallery in Lviv a year later.
“Eugen is a man-module; a collective image. We try to hide and bury our inner Eugen deeper and that’s good. I would like to make the viewer smile a bit, as this is not an evil satire. I think that radical methods can only trigger aggression, and changes within people should be gradual.”
Exhibition curator: Robo Blaško