Sunday, October 29th 2017
I started with the idea, sourced from Ian Cheng's Emissaries, of video games that play themselves.
From that core idea, I developed a set of areas to focus on (the process of which is defined here that spanned aesthetic and formal domains:
The combination of procedural content, algorithmic simulation, and world-building brings us to something that both is like, and utterly unlike, a game: it's built on game technologies and has the look and feel of a game, but you can't play it. There's a sense of place and maybe even a viewer-imposed story, but it resists conventional narrative readings.
Beyond the formal domains of worlds and simulations, I added Imaginary Ecosystems and The Grotesque, in part derived from recent explorations into the far ends of exploration of 3D form and aesthetics online, as well as a long look at Luigi Serafini's Codex Seriphinianus as a masterwork of virtual world building as art rather than craft.
The primary audience is people also steeped in the experience of world-building, whether that's gamers, consumers of science-fiction, or even some artists and designers. It's game-ish-ness suggests it should be presented as being in a grey area between games and art.
One of the ways this work could be presented is as a livestream on Twitch, or a series of streamed videos on YouTube. It could be a "big screen" installation anchored to a physical space as well. Different views (livestream, laptop, installation) could just be different lenses on the same content.
I think this project has the potential to:
I picked these purposes because games and 3D are perceived more as craft than art: most people would say that they don't provoke, they simulate. Work that's procedurally generated or computer moderated isn't necessarily seen as "real" – we still defend electronic music from the perception of not being created by "real" instruments for instance.
Ultimately in MFADT I want to create immersive work, that combines sound, space, and code to tell stories in new ways, as well as beginning to carve out a middle ground between code and design – where I'm not constantly confronted with impostor syndrome for my non-design background, but I don't turn my back on visual aesthetics.
For this project, I'm leaning quite far away from my strengths by using tools like 3D form, the intent to create a particular visual aesthetic born out of a mix of "outsider 3D" and Codex Seraphinianus-inspired weirdness.
For this project, that will mean setting priorities like: