'Composition #7’ (2009)

altered videogame

Cory Arcangel, ‘Composition #7’ (2009). Installation image, ‘Here Comes Everybody’, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlijn, 2010.

Cory Arcangel’s ‘Composition #7’ is a modification of the popular video game Frets on Fire –  a ‘guitar hero’ type game in which players use a plastic guitar-shaped controller to play along with the notes on the screen. For this work he has replaced the game’s usual rock soundtrack with La Monte Young’s 1960 minimalist work ‘Composition 1960 #7’.  ‘Composition 1960 #7’ consists of the sustained interval of a perfect fifth, B and F#, (together creating a perfect fifth), with the instruction “to be held for a long time”. The game can be mastered by anyone, but the ‘game play’ is now absent (because players now just have to stand there and hold two buttons down).


Arcangel is an artist, composer, and performer. His work explores myths about internet culture, pop music and experimental music. He became famous and notorious for creating new works by hacking into existing computer or other technological applications. In May 2011, he opened a show of new work at the Whitney Museum (New York), following shows at the Hamburger Bahnhof (Berlin), and the Barbican (London). He lives and works in Brooklyn.