Words: Ciarán Howley
Image: Boris Becker
Prepare for a surprise throwback on the streets of Dublin.
Before there was Club Penguin, Moshi Monsters and even NintenDogs, there was a website known as Neopets. Launched in 1999 by Adam and Donna Powell, the digital game allowed players to build their own colourful avatars, inspired by mythical beasts.
In 2005, the company was bought by Viacom and became Nickelodeon’s Neopets. Over the past few years, the game has had a variety of iterations but fans of the game are in for a throwback if they take a stroll down Kildare St.
Dublin City Council have teamed up with the Form Foundation and Société to present a public Neopets sculptural exhibition produced by New York based artist Bunny Rogers. For eight weeks (October 5-December 5), statues of fan favourite characters Techo, Shoryu and Chia will be on full display.
Rogers built the staues from bronze, resembling ornate European gargoyles with a unique gaming twist. Born in 1990, Rogers has had her work displayed around the globe but the Neopets exhibition recalls a nostalgic moment from her childhood.
“My Neopets were real to me,” the artist explained “I wished that I could visit Neopia and didn’t understand why I couldn’t. The participation in an online world made me aware of a bigger community and (it) gave me hope that what I was doing wouldn’t always go unnoticed.”
Rogers seeks to impress the ideals of Neopets and sites like it in public spaces, those of community, collaboration and the power of inventiveness and innovation. Alongside Dublin City Council, the project has been supported by the Form Foundation – an initiative seeking to bring contemporary art to Dublin, established by Richard Bourke and founder of the Lír Academy Danielle Bourke.
You can catch the sculptures on Kildare St from October 5 – December 5 2022.
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