And lo, it was Frieze; the artworld came to London to see if the recession was over and everybody with a gallery, car park or contact in property put on an exhibition. Down at the private view on the Wednesday the facelift count was down/the quality was up or those deserved of wooing were at the prePV on Tuesday, the überPV on Monday, the ultra PV brunch, the PPV or the VIPPV.
The candy in the sweetshop was more sweetie-like than ever: look at me neons, cartoons, glossy swirly paintwork and big, big photos, with a dusting of worthy, mirror-to-yourselves, this-is-what-you-are projects.
Transposing the phenomenon into the medium of videogame gives a once removed view of the event and stakes my claim for a project a few years hence. The first would be shown on a huge bank of monitors, the second is designed to be projected life-size - drop me a line when you are ready.
Opening Night is a multi-player game with the familiar Pacman characters. Set in a plan of the Frieze tent each new player attempts to stay alive by consuming the dots and cherries emanating from the bar area and various ports around the edges. Each dot makes the player redder, with the player getting bluer over time, if the player becomes royal blue they disappear and are out of the game. The player starts in a 'dry' state and it is imperative they consume their first dot quickly. It is possible to get points by engaging other players in typed, chatroom-style conversation until they turn blue and die. If another player speaks to you your responses must be polite in order to escape. Ganging up is possible and rewarded but so is 'rescuing' other players. After consuming 15 dots your character becomes vivid scarlet and achieves a 'nirvana-like' state. In this condition they are no longer able to talk but can still slow other players' progress by waving a large, pixelated finger in their faces.
Tour of Duty (The Artfair) is a standard, first person, single player game. The lanes of Frieze are shown as endless lines of simple, line-drawn boxes that disappear to a vanishing point on the horizon. Each box is indistinguishable from its neighbour and the lines are identical except for a small, coloured banner.
Your mission is to cover every section of the space. A number of hazards will impede you journey. Your path will be blocked by large groups of twittering, smartly dressed artmob. Photographers will tut if you move in front of them - slowing your progress. Nudity, bling and fluorescents will try to suck you in and huge, floating skulls will constantly appear before you. The player wanders around the maze with an enormous gun, blasting huge holes in everything and obliterating it in beautiful, rainbow-coloured explosions with Disneyesque shooting stars and toxic, glittery fallout.
This month we have reviews of Female Fragrances at the Swedish Ambassador's Residence and Zoo 2009. We have postcards from Momentum and the Gothenburg Biennial, the Istanbul Biennial, and closer to home from Theatricality via Vue Leicester Square and Ben Hur Live. And we welcome the return of Ed Atkins's Asides. We also have an interview with Phil Hale about his exhibition at Five Hundred Dollars on Vyner Street, catch the last night on Thursday 5 November, as part of Time Out's First Thursdays. Listen out for Adrian Lee's artist's page Disclaimers.