Well, well, well. Looks like all the mainstream haters out there are about to see the error of their ways. That’s right, gamers, everyone who ever doubted that video games can be art is about to eat a slice of humble pie, because American artist Andres Serrano just submerged a copy of Super Mario Odyssey in a jar of piss for his latest work, Platform (2020), and video games are officially an art form!
For anyone who didn’t take gaming seriously before, just feast your eyes on this Nintendo Switch masterpiece stuffed into a container filled with the avant-garde photographer and provocateur’s own urine. It’s an argument so compelling that we’re sure any critics out there will be rushing to post apologies right away for ever questioning the validity of video games.
Of course, the debate about whether gaming was an authentic form of creative expression has been raging for decades now. Some contend video games are just a childish form of play, while others have even argued that their primary appeal comes from the dopamine rush of crossing off tasks one by one on a lengthy to-do list. Everything those naysayers miss about gaming has been perfectly captured by the sight of Serrano’s murky urine suffused with warm orange sunlight to reveal Mario’s smiling face.
Now, obviously, there have been countless moments of gaming past that could be used to argue for the medium’s artistic merit, from the sublime imagery as you ascend Journey’s final mountain to the countless gut-punch deaths in The Last of Us. But what Andres Serrano evokes by drowning the 2017 platforming classic in his urine goes beyond anything we’ve seen before by revealing how the sacred and profane come together as one in video gaming. It’s a sentiment beautifully echoed in another of his most recent works, Waste Ape, in which he constructed a sculpture of Donkey Kong entirely from his own feces.
So thanks a lot, Mr. Serrano! You’re now an authentic gaming legend for life.