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NEW-MEDIA-CURATING  October 2007

NEW-MEDIA-CURATING October 2007

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Subject:

Re: exchange pieces and time structures

From:

Verina Gfader <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Verina Gfader <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 25 Oct 2007 10:23:08 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (264 lines)

hi marc

thank you for your long post / response to my thoughts.

I want to briefly respond to your short paragraph towards the end,  
where you say: “What I liked about At The Edge of Art, is not  
necessarily there approach to the subject currently being discussed but  
more how they have tried to re-engage with media art, beyond the  
process of using history to support their arguments and intentions.  
Even though, I take issue with their twist regarding connections, in  
science - I wholly appreciate their risk taking and passion to explore  
the varied subjects which to serve to open up different possibilities  
in engaging with media art and other connected practices.”

To me it seems very intriguing to think of and re-engage with media art  
beyond the process of using history, but I think one has to be careful  
of how to use the term history, namely as a classification. To describe  
the encounter with something “new”, or the potential, often emerges out  
of “thought” and processes of thinking, which includes some kind of  
knowledge understood as experience, whether grounded in theory or  
practice or in the intersection between them. If theorists and/or  
practitioners (be it artists, curators, or cultural producers more  
generally) make references to former artistic, scientific, etc.  
articulations a certain mapping of a territory can be made, which often  
also helps to make a work better understand (to a wider audience?). I  
sometimes get rather bored, in discussions around media art, by the  
lack of “knowledge” of what other artists etc. have been done earlier  
on in similar ways...
A certain projection is intrinsic to the reading of media art, which  
then also transforms “history”, or the projection.

 
games [] Hopefully I will see the show ZERO GAMER tomorrow, so will be  
able to respond better to your writing about engagement and  
spectatorship which sounds interesting.
Last night, at the Star and Shadow cinema in Newcastle, there was a  
performance “dead-in-iraq”by artist Joseph DeLappe followed by a  
conversation with Rod  
Dickinsonhttp://www.starandshadow.org.uk/shared/october2007/ 
ss_event.2007-09-28.6897646215/. Joe uses the online game environment  
as a site of his performance (writing/inserting text) which he  
describes as “subtle intervention”, and I think it is particularly  
interesting to approach the work also in terms of the performative,  
performance art if you like, and the textual. (his work might in this  
sense and also on the level of content refer also back to Vito  
Acconci’s early work in the 1960ies). Beside of raising several issues  
around game culture, virtual space, and online communities, themes such  
as the notion of ‘public space’, the political, and the use of screen  
(his gaze shifting between the text beside the screen, the actual game  
environment, the text he is typing, as well as the responses this text  
triggers) condition a certain “understanding” of his work situated in  
his very method as well as the tools he is using. As I would say all  
media art does that to some degree, what to me becomes a question then  
is how does the work im- or explicitly put forward a certain reflection  
of the site is takes place.

As an audience you could sense the engagement (tension, concentration,  
routine) the artist during his performance underwent by interacting in  
the virtual environment, and it was this gap between being “outside”  
the actual action that, to me, made the piece most interesting. 
(audience in and outside the work somehow).

I wonder if the structure of games puts forward a very specific  
dynamic, or non-dynamic of artist/performer/player/audience?

 
best
ver



On 24 Oct 2007, at 14:49, marc garrett wrote:

> Hi Verina and all,
>
> Some interesting points raised here,
>
> I just wanted to respond to this part of your text when you say "I was  
> thinking about work where the actual content of the artwork and the  
> desire on part of the maker is to address ‘limits’ of inter-activity  
> and engagement. Where – beside of using technology in a so-called  
> productive way..."
>
> After the success of the Game/play exhibition last year which was also  
> part of the London Games Festival Fringe, as well as shown in various  
> venues around the UK, at our space the HTTP Gallery, London and Q  
> Arts, Derby and elsewhere. (Catalogue can be downloaded here -  
> http://blog.game-play.org.uk/files/GamePlay_Final.pdf if anyone is  
> interested.); we became aware of how so much time was spent playing  
> the games rather then standing back at a distance to explore other  
> aspects of what was actually going on, and then wondered what else is  
> there for all to explore about games when the interaction is taken out  
> of the interaction - what is left?
>
> This year, the Furtherfield.org crew with Corrado Morgana critical  
> games theorist, are presently showing a co-curated exhibition at the  
> London Games Festival Fringe this year, called 'ZERO GAMER'.  
> http://www.http.uk.net/zerogamer/
>
> Some of the works being shown at the London Games Festival Fringe, at  
> Zero Gamer are works such as
>
> Max Payne Cheats Only by Jodi
>
> Boys in the Hood by Axel Stockburger
>
> Mario Trilogy by Myfanwy Ashmore
>
> CarnageHug by Corrado Morgana
>
> Progress Quest by Eric Fredricksen
>
> 1d Tetris by Ziga Hajdukovic
> and more...
>
> A collaborative text written between myself, Ruth Catlow & Corrado  
> Morgana (http://www.http.uk.net/zerogamer/exhibition.shtml) explores  
> some of these issues and ideas.
>
> "The meaning of contemporary media art is often crafted by the context  
> in which it is encountered by its audience or participants. The way in  
> which participants interact when engaged (in games and art) remains an  
> important factor for both artists and game designers, gamers and  
> audiences for videogame-art. This provides a starting point for this  
> exhibition. It considers on the one hand, avidly and actively immersed  
> gamers, and on the other, the gamer-in-every-viewer of art games who  
> encounters game modifications, appropriations and detournements as  
> jolts to the mesmerizing flow and illusory worlds of regular game  
> play. They are thereby placed in a more thoughtful and reflective  
> relationship with them. This is the fertile antagonism that informs  
> Zero Gamer.
>
> So, what happens when the action is taken out of interaction?
>
> Of course, the works in this exhibition don't remove all action from  
> interaction, but they do shift the sites, times and agents of action.  
> The works presented either document the results of a prior  
> performative action or an automated performance defined by software  
> affordances such as artificial intelligence and in-game physics. Much  
> of the presentation of these works touches upon the arena of  
> Machinima. Games creatives, whether videogame artists or amateur  
> enthusiast producers have made Machinima, a contraction of 'machine'  
> and 'cinema', a significant form. This form uses videogame engines-  
> hacking, modifying or performing within multi-player games- to produce  
> normally a video document following some form of formal, cinematic  
> intent. However this term may need some adjustment before we apply it  
> to artists' documents of in-game performance or other activity-  
> perhaps Experimental Machinima or MachinimArt (coined at the Gameworld  
> exhibition 2006 in Laboral) will stand in for these more exploratory  
> forms which belong to expanded forms of cinema or documentary not  
> normally or intentionally associated with Machinima."
>
> Another interpretation worth considering here is that, we longer need  
> to hang onto the 'spectacle' of interaction as the main function,  
> purpose or valid reason for being part of it, when engaging with  
> video-games now. Claiming the media is not the same as interaction,  
> but sometimes an emotional trick can arise where one may mistakenly  
> feel as though they gain a kind of agency through the process of being  
> interactive when in actuality the opposite is occurring between the  
> user and game.
>
> "Naturally (or unnaturally) digital technologies allow us to get  
> caught up in what is real. In our minds, using common sense, we might  
> say that a good argument or conversation at a screening event is real.  
> The hallmarks of this might be the sense of humans talking, the smell  
> of the room, the interjection of one voice over another or a  
> familiarity with a place. However, if Baudrillard were to play SimCity  
> I'm sure he might say that it was just as real as visiting Newcastle  
> or Denver.
>
> Commentators such as Beck and Wade* would go as far as to pose a  
> generational shift where put simply those born after 1970 have been  
> absorbed in games culture as role play for life. Those born before -  
> the 'analogue' baby boomers - see computer games as time wasting or  
> passing fads. What I pick up from contemporary media theory is a  
> desire to explain and summarise. The internet is definitely a good  
> summary of itself though." Simon Poulter - false mutiny and the  
> collective amnesia of bad sunrises. on August 8, 2006.  
> http://blog.game-play.org.uk/?q=node/34#comment-19
>
> Part of what Simon suggests above is worth considering, especially in  
> regard to 'analogue' baby boomers, which I am sure many who frequent  
> this list are. When having a conversation about the same subject at  
> the beginnings of conceptualising the exhibition, Corrado Morgana said  
> that "many of the original gamers have simply just got older". We part  
> of a generation of people out who want more out of games other than  
> just playing them for its own sake. This opens up games culture to new  
> audiences, as well contemporary artists and thinkers to explore what  
> this now means for us all, on many different levels.
>
> Not only has games culture now moved on, so have also many net artists  
> and media artists, who have taken it upon themselves to incorporate it  
> into becoming part of their own ongoing practices.
>
> "I think the widespread idea of interactive art as a form of  
> collaborative authorship, is vastly overrated
> First of all, I think all art takes place in the viewer. Interactive  
> art is no exception. Viewing art is always active, never passive. But  
> that doesn't mean that the user actually makes the piece (even though  
> we may sometimes make him feel like he is ;) ).
>
>
> Second, authors of interactive pieces often use this myth of  
> users-as-creators to excuse themselves from making any statements or  
> adding any content. This is very convenient since in the context of  
> contemporary art, expressing an opinion seems to be considered  
> politically incorrect and in the context of videogames, making a  
> statement is deemed uncommercial."
> Michael Samyn on August 8, 2006.  
> http://blog.game-play.org.uk/?q=node/34#comment-22
>
> Of course, there are various degrees of interaction, and some artists  
> and game makers when building such environments are actively dealing  
> with these contemporary questions in their own work all of the time.  
> Other than those who are in the current Zero Gamer exhibition. Auriea  
> Harvey and Michael Samyn originally known as Entropy8Zuper!, now known  
> as Tale of Tales (http://www.tale-of-tales.com/). "the duo aim to  
> challenge the fundamentals of game play by creating a ‘plot free’  
> experience of exploration and contemplation. Jonah Brucker-Cohen,  
> rhizome.org
>
> For me personally, two books have effectively approached the ever  
> continuing strong connection between media art and video-games  
> culture, expansively. There are some other great writings and books  
> out there, but for me these two have touched upon things that we at  
> Furtherfield feel are relevant, we that each of thwm dealt with these  
> contemporary issues in a fresh and genuine way. The first one, which  
> is actually being launched this evening , in the UK this evening,  
> which I am gong to is, Videogames and Art - edited by Andy Clarke and  
> Grethe Mitchell. The other is At The Edge of Art by Joline Blais and  
> Jon Ippolito.
>
> In Videogames and Art, Axel Stockburger's From Appropriation to  
> Approximation, writes an interetesting study of video-games and  
> contemporary art. In the Keynote texts Axel says "While many games are  
> criticised on the basis of an innovation in a weapon system or the  
> realism of car behaviour on specific tracks, ZERO GAMER invites  
> players, developers and critics who aim higher to stop playing for a  
> bit, enter the discursive platform it provides, and reflect on the  
> current situation. This break is necessary to be able to focus on  
> those issues surrounding games that open novel perspectives on  
> contemporary culture. These can only be addressed properly if one  
> switches from mere instinctive reaction to thoughtful planned action."  
> http://www.http.uk.net/zerogamer/keynote.shtml
>
> What I liked about  At The Edge of Art, is not necessarily there  
> approach to the subject currently being discussed but more how they  
> have tried to re-engage with media art, beyond the process of using  
> history to support their arguments and intentions. Even though, I take  
> issue with their twist regarding connections, in science - I wholly  
> appreciate their risk taking and passion to explore the varied  
> subjects which to serve to open up different possibilities in engaging  
> with media art and other connected practices.
>
> So, getting back to games culture and media art. I feel that creative  
> interjections which act to inform potentially, wholesome cross-overs,  
> for curators, artists, game makers and audience can bring about a  
> truly engaging dialogue for all who are interested. Not only to put  
> forward a more insightful reasoning in understanding the culture  
> itself, but also to share ideas and issues of human nature as part of  
> the contemporary mix.
>
> Marc

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