In a quest to find Pikachu, artnet News took to the Museum of Modern Art to play Pokémon Go. As the augmented reality video game craze consumes all the Pokéworld’s denizens, we wanted to know how pocket monsters would pair with visual art.
As to be expected of a typical Monday afternoon, MoMA was crammed with visitors of all stripes. But one thing was missing: a reliable GPS signal, which is crucial to activating the game.
Pro-tip #1: Connect to the museum’s WiFi.
It didn’t take long before a docile Pidgey appeared just outside the entrance to Tony Oursler’s exhibition on the 2nd floor. It was the day’s first capture, and it feels good.
As I proceeded to roam the halls and gallery spaces, the innocuous gesture of swiping at a screen netted the curiosity of several museum-goers, some of whom, of course, seemed more peeved than interested.
Security guards, on the other hand, were alarmed. One guard approached me as I attempted to capture a wild Oddish, and asked me what I was doing. After explaining, he gruffly said, “just watch your step.”
Back on the second level, I came across yet another Pidgey in the exhibition space for Rachel Harrison’s “Perth Amboy” show, and managed to capture the excitable pocket monster amid the artist’s sprawling arrangement of freestanding cardboard sheets.
Finally, I made my way to the MoMA’s courtyard, a destination that the video game urged me to visit. There, I came across Voltorb.
But alas, as Pokémon trainers of the 21st century know all too well, the battery gave way, ending the journey sooner than planned, and I had to head home, with a dead phone in hand.
Pro-tip #2: Pack a portable charger.
Lastly, a word on taking the game to museums that double-up as memorials, courtesy of the Holocaust Museum: “Please stop catching Pokemon here.”
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