Many thanks Sarah, and to everyone who attended the workshop on Friday.
The summary of the discussions below is very useful. There were some fascinating discussions identifying some of the theoretical and functional challenges of exhibiting video games, it would be very helpful to dig a bit deeper into some of these ideas.
I took part in the product design session that discussed the nature of designed objects within games and the relationship between these objects and the game world. I was particularly interested in the idea of 'function' where it deviates from real world design issues in that objects within a game exist either to simulate an environment ie. to recreate a convincing world rather than to necessarily fulfil their primary real world function. Comparisons were drawn with set design and set dressing in film and I learned a new term 'narrative affordances' (thanks Dayna).
This has led me to a 2 sided question...Are narrative affordances, where objects are located in a space in order to lead the audience through a series of 'plot points', or similar devices used in exhibition design? and/or Would a level design approach be useful in exhibition design? What are the devices used in each discipline and are they transferable?
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Subject: NEW-MEDIA-CURATING Digest - 9 Aug 2014 to 11 Aug 2014 (#2014-131)
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Topics of the day:
1. August 2014 Theme: Video Games in the Museum
Date: Mon, 11 Aug 2014 10:49:24 +0000
From: Sarah Cook <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: August 2014 Theme: Video Games in the Museum
following the workshop on Friday at Abertay, I'm posting here some notes transcribed from the final breakout sessions. Gregor can explain more clearly, but each group was tasked with looking at a different aspects of video game design - with an eye to how such things might be collected or exhibited.
One group looked at products, one group looked at environments, and one group looked specifically at the role of the museum or exhibition. I was in the group concerning the museum, but was very interested in some of the thinking from the group about the game environment (perhaps William Huber can post more about that).
I invite people who were at the workshop to correct my notes if I misheard, or add details I may have missed. Please use these notes to add in your own thoughts about Gregor's key questions:
* How can exhibition forms exhibit the art and craft of games design?
* Can the assembly of art and code be conceived and displayed as the material of the designer?
* Is it possible to penetrate the screen and disaggregate the components of the game in order to expose the creative practices?
NOTES FROM SPAWN - VIDEO GAMES IN THE MUSEUM WORKSHOP 2, HELD AT ABERTAY UNIVERSITY, AUGUST 8 2014.
(notes taken by Sarah Cook)
product design - form and function
a teapot in a game doesn't have same function (of a warming drink) but a game-related function (refuel the player) the designed object by a game designer is more likely to be combination of object and action.
is it code you collect or screenshot or extraction?
the idea of beauty versus the quality of the object. contingent/subjective is beauty in the ability to make the game more enjoyable or a continued logic between object and action - an elegant solution?
it's not the product design but the artefact design within the game, like mise en scene in film - deliberate intention for something in the scene regarding the narrative.
(the object behaves)
physicality of the object - the object might tell something about society and culture
game mechanics in terms of hardware - controllers, etc. museum of industrial design should be interested in these (sometimes failed) controllers.
everyone has some kind of collection in their attic, so why go to the museum to see them? Additional insight or context.
should exhibitions of video game art include games that are fully playable? (time limits, accessibility, visitors learning from each other)
keep coming back to the idea that there are existing artworks by artists which reflect on different aspects of gaming and game design (i.e. Mary Flanagan's Jump http://www.maryflanagan.com/pile-of-secrets; Joseph Delappe's Taliban Hands http://www.delappe.net/project/taliban-hands/; Cory Arcangel's super mario clouds http://www.coryarcangel.com/things-i-made/supermarioclouds/; Richard Billingham's video/photos Playstation, http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-britain/exhibition/turner-prize-2001/turner-prize-2001-shortlisted-artists/turner)
what is the exhibition experience - is game like or playable?
should the exhibition avoid the idea of the hero figure designer / how can it exhibit collaborative creation we don't need another history of games exhibition - (how well are previous exhibitions curated?)
identify stories as a strategy that galvanise attention (in keeping with the V&A's rapid response collecting idea)
do you need to exhibit code in a way that is understandable?
can you exhibit how it works, i.e. the performativity of it?
could the exhibition be about the design process?
if so, there is a need for inclusive stories - what is exemplar design? good and bad design also need to consider the scale of the game design (not all triple A games)
(mistake to think that the museum is objective) - need for contextual information how museums try and fail or try and succeed to tackle tricky issues.
the exhibition needs a thesis, can't let things through without critique.
reflection of nature space in game environments - how to exhibit them in relation to broader design histories
understand that space in software is an object, it is manufactured, not encountered.
glitch space uses collision as a property
object has dual life as form that alludes to real world analogue and game function. environments are the same.
use level narrative in design process as a way of understanding how those environments are built up. the space has a user story - it's a window to what that game environment is about.
geometries of the environment don't change the way the game works. but add a feeling of compression/tension due to formal properties of space.
designers create ideal spaces that are then modified through testing/play. add textures. curating and describing iteration in design history is something we should do.
tie to art history and architecture - design of virtual space (ref oliver grau) or painting and its use of perspective to create space, or the panorama, etc.
visual history of colonial possession is a precursor to this?
stephen berlin johnson, or writing about the experience in Grand Theft Auto of watching the sunsets. (tourism in games - exploring spaces differently to play them)
teleological space - portray effect of unbounded space / sublime openness and instrumentalism of its functionality.
maps / scale - visual history.
example of race tracks - how space becomes object that acts upon play.
continuous and discontinuous environments.
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End of NEW-MEDIA-CURATING Digest - 9 Aug 2014 to 11 Aug 2014 (#2014-131)
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