So I was talking with Tim a couple of weeks back, and I was bemoaning the difficulties of getting an arcade up and running in Italy. There are some major hurdles, not least of which is the original security certificate the game must have to be allowed to be publicly accessible for commerce.* The worst part is I have no desire to re-create a proper arcade like Reclaim Arcade, I mean why would I? -it was perfect the first time 🙂 I just want the 30 classic video game cabinets I’ve spent the better part of two years minting out accessible to someone other than myself.† So, back to Tim, he said in his matter of fact way “why don’t you just get a space and start building without too much overhead, like we did in the CoWork space back in 2016.”
Eureka! He was absolutely right, I was overthinking this whole thing, I just needed to do it. And once I broke through the logjam, the ideas started flowing, for example, why just a place for games? Why not a retro cultural center? Or a space to experiment with old and new AV equipment? Maybe a little 3D printing?
And then it hit me, Given I have no real desire to make this a commercial space, why not just turn the whole thing into a kind of stream of consciousness living exhibit, wherein I use the public-facing spaces (the shop windows) as a kind of looking glass into various cultural vignettes. Like staging a scene from one of my favorite horror movies, and the next week/month after that highlight a few Williams arcade games (and make them remotely playable even?). How about taking the hundreds of Smurfs I collected when I was a kid and re-create the Smurf (or Puffo in Italian) village. What if I use the exposition space to recreate a wall of 80s VHS tapes for another installation and on and on and on.
All the while the exhibits will link to a site (bava.studio) that will provide in-depth information, links, context, and more. And if it catches on, make calls out to the community to submit ideas for the next window that they can build and get featured in the window for a week or so. You get the idea, right? —it’s basically this blog, the veritable bavatuesdays, but in storefront form.
That’s right, hippies, this blog is about to get a physical address. In fact, this afternoon we found a modest 600 square foot space downtown (right across from my favorite Pugliese bakery) where it can take shape. It’s kind of a ridiculous concept, but as downtown commerce increasingly goes online, the city center becomes less and less viable as a shopping mall. So, what if all those spaces get reclaimed and transformed into cabinets of curiosities through which we can connect with another through spaces of playfulness and creativity?
I’m sure there is nothing new under the sun, and this has been done before, but I’m pretty excited about giving it a go and seeing what comes of it. For me, the real allure is re-directing my energy refurbishing the arcade games into creating scenes and sets for the Trentini to see and say to themselves, “WTF is that?!” 🙂
*This mythical certificate is near on impossible to get given many of these games were not even in Italy when they were created, and most of the original security certificates that did exist for these games in Italy are long gone now.
†Something I learned from the Living Room Console was that an exhibit like this needs to be inviting and playable by the public.