Hi Verina et al,
It's interesting that you picked up on the works that used simplified forms
of interaction (multiple choice) or paradigmatic as in space invaders or
duck hunt (gun game)
These simplified forms of interaction offer very little barrier or learning
curve as they are already part of most viewers cultural language. This begs
the question as to how complex does a piece of software art or other
interactive work need to be to, at the interface level, to produce a
significant and functional whole. The need to learn an interface to fully
interact, with it can be an issue. We are back to the notion of time, a
viewer 'learning' a work before they can actually 'play' the work. Much has
been written about in-game tutorials, but I guess a gallery work needs to be
an instant 'hit', avoiding long learning curves or more subtle mechanics..
This echoes Nintendo's strategy with more casual and instant gaming
regarding the Nintendo DS with it's touch screen and the WII with it's
I'm really enjoying being able engage with videogame art as it offers
allsorts of dialogues around existing media art. Media art has always had a
playful and interactive nature that may be discussed through video games
dialogues in a surprisingly affective/effective way.. I dunno.
Glad you enjoyed Zero Gamer and that it threw up a few questions. I agree
with you that the non-interaction places the viewer in a more reflexive
position that actually gaming might not. Arching narratives are only really
consciously acknowledged by the gamer when they are out of the gaming
experience itself. A footballer responds to the games flow whilst a
spectator engages with the games narratives more so than a live sports
commentator, who is arguably in a similar position to the player, creating
texts that become narratives..can't you tell that I'm more of a ludologist?
However...BIG HOWEVER!!!, playable games, proper, good 'ole fashioned
interactive stuff, should not be dismissed as fostering a lesser form of
reflection, it's just that the actual reflection mainly occurs post game..
Btw games are interactive by default apart from zero player games, and even
in this context there are agents that 'play' within a set of rules that are
ludic if not necessarily goal oriented
Best ....and hopefully making some sense
From: Curating digital art - www.crumbweb.org
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Verina Gfader
Sent: 28 October 2007 10:03 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: exchange pieces and time structures
Dear corrado, bruce et all
I would like to respond briefly to the last two posts. To me it seems
interesting how from two different positions similar issues are
addressed and dealt with. (crossing media; content
production/consumption; chronotype/chronotope; (digital) literacy)
I visited the Zero gamers exhibition in the festival lounge at
01zero-one last Friday and was quite fascinated to encounter video/game
- artworks that for a non-gamer like me were absolutely interesting to
"watch". "Restricted" to being videos "only" the manipulated surfaces
and structures of games became a site of criticality, both in terms of
their particular aestheticisation as well as the cultures the games
supposedly put forward.
Most of the works in the show lived perfectly well without any literal
inter-action, without being able to play the game. Indeed, the
non-action (putting the spectator consciously in a spectatorship
position) provided a ground for differently engaging with material that
otherwise would have disappeared beneath the individual gestures
triggering certain points in the game.
To me, it was precisely the restriction that actually freed the work
from a certain limit that an actual game might propose. Through this
process of de-limiting a space emerged that was actually rather playful,
critical, reflective of the media, and in some of the works, quite
referential to former artistic articulations that -in different
contexts- dealt with similar forms and methods of delineage. (e.g. the
minimal tetris game, potentially referring to structuralist and
conceptual work. Jodi's loop structures and collage-types corrupting
linear narrative. and so on)
The desire to interact in a literal sense was re-placed by one might say
rather "new imagery" the game-environment potentially contains by
corrupting or subversing its own mechanism.
Later I visited the exhibition Tha Click at E:vent
http://www.eventnetwork.org.uk/programme/exhibitions/625. Beside of the
seductive materialities Paper Rad creates (on screen, print, "knitted",
mounted, collaged), the work by Paul B. Davis, Cory Arcangel, Joe
Beuckman [Beige] featured also interesting "inter-action" screen work,
where for instance through shooting at imagery on the screen, the action
is released. Another type of literal, physical engagement on part of the
audience was a clear set of instruction laid out on the TV screen. As
audience you are invited to for example type 1 or 2 on the keyboard to
move further. The "simplistic" interface is a further "invite" for an
audience to feel invited to actually inter-act, trigger the action.
Referencing comic and pop culture, breaking codes and software, laws,
etc. might also contribute to the "easy access" the work offers. This
easy access (both technically and in terms of visual non-complexity
reflecting the contemporary mediascape in ironical and subversive ways)
I want to think of a potential to address "hot themes" in a playful, but
also critical way.
Visiting these shows reminded me also of an earlier work by Thomson &
Craighead, Trigger Happy http://thomson-craighead.net/docs/thap.html,
which I want to mention here. It seems interesting to me that this work
effectively addresses both game-structures, aesthetics, and the "erasure
If there is a cross-over of media and cultures, then it also supposes
that there are separate niches that precisely have to be niches in order
to articulate their particularity.
The artistic freedom and that of the audience????, that I think is often
missed in technologically informed works is addressed in several of
these works mentioned above in rather playful and also critical ways.
The crossing might perhaps also allow more 'free' to return to "older"
forms of representations such as video screen. Inter/action will not
stop at this point??!!
Sorry, only few collated notes and quick refs on a Sunday morning..