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Author Topic: Art History of Games presentation  (Read 13224 times)
Michaël Samyn

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« on: February 09, 2010, 07:33:46 PM »

Here's the text and slides of our presentation at the Art History of Games symposium last Saturday.
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God at play

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« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2010, 07:52:33 PM »

Thanks for posting those. Smiley The manifesto will make a good subject for a blog post.
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Erik Svedäng

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« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2010, 08:07:06 PM »

I wish I'd been there! Did you like the event? Would you go again if it happens next year?
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Sun

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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2010, 08:47:25 PM »

Great presentation! Grin
I was so hungry.

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Sun B. Kim
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Michaël Samyn

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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2010, 11:01:13 PM »

I wish I'd been there! Did you like the event? Would you go again if it happens next year?

Hm. The only reason why we went was because they commissioned us to make a game. But the main reason why we wouldn't have gone otherwise is that it is in the USA and we don't like traveling to the USA these days.

I actually know and respect quite a few people who were presenting at the symposium. So I was really looking forward to it. But I think I had underestimated the "history" part of the title a little. Several presentations were trying hard to establish a link between Dada, Fluxus and contemporary games. I got a bit sick of it. Nobody seemed to realize that a lot of things had happened after 1970 that were a lot more relevant to videogames as an artform. But what's worse, nobody seemed to notice that there's a huge difference between making art in a playful way, or even making art for the audience to interact with, and designing games. Somebody even went as far as trying to prove that playing games was an artform because the movements of some basketball players were beautiful...  Roll Eyes

Anyway, the artists presentations made up for a lot. Frank Lantz's talk was very interesting, Brenda Brathwaite was brilliant and Nathalie Pozzi was a welcome addition to Eric Zimmerman's usual flair. I also liked how Christiane Paul explained the very obvious fact that art can be made in any medium but that not everything that was made in any medium was art. She very cleared articulated that she thought Doom was not art but Jodi's SOD was.

And last but not least, we had half an hour to play Brenda Brathwaite's TRAIN in the gallery where Vanitas was on display as well. Which was a very interesting experience.
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Michaël Samyn

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« Reply #5 on: February 13, 2010, 10:23:27 PM »

I'm saddened by some of the simplistic responses to our presentation here and there. Some people seem to interpret it as just a statement about videogames not being art or something. They don't see the multiple layers in the text, let alone the humour. People don't seem to realize how subtle the text is. Sure we performed it like a manifesto, and yes that was intended as a provocation. Not in the least because it was a parody (given the context of an art history symposium).

Is it games? Is it the internet? Is it the general infantilisation of humankind? People are so slow to think and so quick to fight. And anyone who is different, anyone who wants to change anything must be destroyed. It's frightening, really, this power of the mob, the violence of crowds.

Ironically, it's exactly why I feel we need to rescue interactive technology from videogames. Because it will allow us to think in more complex ways. Or so I hope. If not, we're lost. Then again, if not, we're better off lost.
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Kaworu Nagisa

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« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2010, 12:08:25 AM »

I'm saddened by some of the simplistic responses to our presentation here and there. Some people seem to interpret it as just a statement about videogames not being art or something. They don't see the multiple layers in the text, let alone the humour. People don't seem to realize how subtle the text is. Sure we performed it like a manifesto...

Perhaps a carrot would help?  Wink
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axcho

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« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2010, 03:40:44 AM »

Perhaps a carrot would help?  Wink

External rewards?! That's evil games thinking, that is! Shun! Shun! Shocked

Just kidding. Wink

Perhaps a carrot would help... Smiley
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Michaël Samyn

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« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2010, 10:42:26 AM »

Hm. Maybe. I tend to think that these people just need a totalitarian leader to submit them and force them to work in the mines. But maybe a Bruce Mau-like approach would be smarter and more efficient: "Yes is More. Think carrot, not stick. Seduction, not sacrifice. Yes!, not No!"  Smiley
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Kaworu Nagisa

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« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2010, 11:37:19 AM »

Did you have time to answer people's questions after the presentation? Did they have any questions?
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Michaël Samyn

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« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2010, 01:38:14 PM »

Yes, there was some time. And yes, they had some questions and remarks. I don't exactly remember it all.
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Kaworu Nagisa

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« Reply #11 on: February 15, 2010, 11:26:43 AM »

Did it help people understand your presentation?
I ask because panel/presentation/lecture is a one/few men talking and group of men listening. There is little communication that way. But if people can ask questions they simply communicate and many things might become obvious that way.

Or perhaps it is that you are a peculiar unique person and you have put some part of yourself into the presentation and people didn't respond to that as much as you would like to due to little knowledge of you. I think it's probable Smiley
Which makes me ask: do you do your (not)games the same way? Put yourself into your creation in the intimate way?
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Michaël Samyn

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« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2010, 02:02:23 PM »

Well, we did consider this presentation more as a performance than a lecture. And I think most people in the room did understand that. And so they also understood what we were trying to say. Some questions cleared up the last remaining confusions.

We're actually very uncomfortable with live presentations (be they performances or physical installations). We much prefer staying at home and working "behind the scenes". Probably partially because, indeed, it is such an intimate process for us. There's a lot more of ourselves in our games than is publicly known. In some cases it's too embarrassing to talk about. But I think it does help us make the work stronger.
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