This is possibly one of the coolest things that I’ve ever seen. Artist Mickey Harmon has spent a couple of years playing with Minecraft. In the process, he has built a digital landscape of downtown Buffalo. Hallwalls, the city’s largest tree and a few Buffalebs (Byron Brown, Janet Snyder and Grover Cleveland) made it into the video, which is accompanied by some throwback video music thanks to the audio expertise of Nick Blazier. There’s even a night version of the set. After watching the video that explores the imaginative city, I reached out to Mickey to see what inspired him, and what he was thinking during the process.
“I started two years ago building City Hall, Niagara Square and then it just spiraled out of control,” Mickey told me. “John Massier from Hallwalls did a studio visit with me and told me to fire up that Xbox about a year ago and had me build on what I had. So I built up the idols, the Hallwalls block of Delaware and then had my partner Nick Blazier record “Little Boxes” by Melvina Reynolds with an 8 bit sound. I began with the interiors of City Hall and Statler, but that got too taxing, so the rest were all hollow, for time’s sake.
“Fun fact – I built Main Place Tower and mall a block too early and then had to blow it up and rebuild it. Oopsies! As for the Buffalebrity thing… I wanted to make an homage to Byron Brown, so while at Dreamland for a show (Candace Camuglia curated called “Unconventional Measurements”), Seth Girod who is a dreamlander said “Make a sphinx!” So I made the minecart go in Byron’s mouth and out of his bum, made with pink wool. Then the cart turns onto Chippewa and blasts by CLUB PIG adorned with pig pens instead of patios where bros typically gather. Janet Snyder has always fascinated me because she speaks of Buffalo, but has a real disconnection to what actually goes on in the urban core, aside from Buffalo Bills losses. So I erected a Statue of Buffalebrity, a false idol of sorts. Then this takes you all the way to the Niagara River, where I erected a Stalin-esque statue of my favorite Buffalebrity, Grovey Cleves. Overlooking the river and protecting our pixelated heaven.
“So over two years it was a building process and if it wasnt for the “good neighbors” I surround myself with, I wouldn’t have been inspired to construct the homage to the culture of the city. Dreamland, Candace Camuglia, and all of the artists I surround myself really inspired it all.”