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Brooklyn-based art duo FAILE brings their FAILE BÄST Deluxx Fluxx Arcade to Scotland for the Edinburgh Art Festival July 31st through September, where they’re recreating the interactive installation originally displayed at last year’s Miami Art Basel. Recalling every windowless game room you ever wasted your ‘80s childhood in, the project blends high culture with low, Patrick McNeil and Patrick Miller smothering bulky arcade machines with their characteristic graphics in punchy neons. Beneath the blinking lights and the dated graphics, each game serves as a custom-made social commentary, where you can get into a boxing match with a teddy bear, blow away ‘90s-era Patrick Batemans on WaveRunners, or simply stay on within the lines of a straight-and-narrow track. In short: It’s more than Mortal Combat.
Like most of FAILE’s work, Deluxx Fluxx is a living and breathing show, a place where viewers are asked to engage. The project, which will be reinstalled piece by piece in Edinburgh, was designed, as the duo states themselves, as “an extension of urban art.” It’s the anti-classical, made specifically with temporality in mind. Now you see it, now you don’t. There is arrogance in permanence; Deluxx Fluxx wasn't built for forever. In doing so, FAILE once again strips that layer of ego and self-importance that art tends to have, bringing it down to an accessible place so that it can be universally enjoyed—though certainly not taken for granted.
It’s not all fun and games, of course. At the root of FAILE’s work is always an invitation for viewers to critique, to analyze, to assess—something art inherently does, but this time from a much closer, more intimate distance. So don’t let the screaming colors and cacophony of game noise fool you into thinking Deluxx Fluxx is just more superficial fluff in a world of superficial fluff. As in life, you can just play, or you can think.
Photos courtesy of FAILE and Society Perrier.