Aaron Oldenberg (USA), 2012
Towa Towa, Videogame
This is a documentary game based on time I spent with the Guyanese bird-racing community in New York.
Bird Racing is a sport played in Guyana and Trinidad as well as in the immigrant communities in Queens. It is actually more like bird-debating, as they sit two birds next to each other and see which one can tweet the fastest and angriest. Male Towa Towa finches, when placed facing each other, chirp aggressively. A number is chosen and bets are made as to which bird will reach the chosen number of chirps first. It’s a weird, macho subculture centered around tiny birds. Some people say that raising racing birds for them is like a drug, and in the Georgetown, Guyana, marketplace you can find CD’s filled with the sounds of birds chirping to train the birds to chirps louder, longer and faster. People smuggle birds into the country in hair curlers, so the FBI is after them and if you try to hang out with them in Phil Rizzuto Park in Jamaica, New York, they’ll tell you to fuck off.
Aaron Oldenburg was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA in 1979. He lives and works in Maryland. He has his MFA in digital art from University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He exhibits experimental videogame and new media art regularly since 2005.
Major exhibits / events:
net.works, Vector Game + Art Convergence, Toronto, ON, Canada 2013.
Game Play 2012, The Brick, Brooklyn, NY, USA .
FILE Media Art, 12th Electronic Language International Festival, São Paolo, Brazil, 2011.
SIGGRAPH: Slow Art, Los Angeles, CA, 2008.