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April 7, 2014


From Benjamin

I’m no fan of computer games, even the non-violent “Tetris”  types, as I find them socially isolating and boring. And I’ve always thought that architect César Pelli’s Cira Centre, built next to the historic Beaux Arts 30th Street Station in my home town of Philadelphia, to possess all the elegance of a very large, overturned, paper bag.
Well, on Saturday the graceless curtain wall of the latter was transformed temporarily into the playing screen for the former as Drexel University computer professor Frank Lee hacked into the LED lighting system of the building to play a  29 story-high version of the vintage arcade game, as part of Philly Tech Week,and in honor of the game’s 30 anniversary.  While the project of commandeering private property to play a childish game of blocks is surely a silly prank, the self-indulgent and criminal aspects are, in this case I think, counterbalanced by the excitement of a public happening, and the considerable, if transient, aesthetic improvements.

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