The 2017 Whitney Biennial has something curious to offer fans of interactive fiction. Among the works shown this year are With Those We Love Alive and howling dogs, Twine works written by Charity Heartscape Porpentine.
These names may also be familiar to IF fans because With Those We Love Alive placed 5th in the 2014 IF Comp and won two XYZZY Awards that year, and howling dogs placed 11th in the 2011 IF Comp and also won two XYZZYs.
The Whitney Biennial is a venerable insitution of the contemporary American art scene. It’s previously exhibited works by Georgia O’Keefe, Jackson Pollock, Jasper Johns, and Robert Mapplethorpe. And so while it’s true that this is — by far — not the first time interactive fiction has been exhibited to the public, nor is Porpentine’s work is the first at the Whitney that could be categorized as a video game, this is still an important milestone. It’s also a testament to how interactive fiction remains a thriving, relevant medium.
This year’s exhibition runs through June 11, so there’s still plenty of time to pay it a visit yourself. There’s also an Artforum interview with Porpentine online where she talks about the Whitney.