Everything Digit-al: Touching New Media at NEoN Digital Arts Festival

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The past week was probably my busiest yet this academic year. On top of my usual responsibilities as a graduate student, almost every day offered an amazing opportunity to see new work and meet the creators of a broad variety of new media artworks. This year, the North East of North festival had a special focus on bringing Asian creators to the city of Dundee, and for some of the artists it was even the first time their work was exhibited or performed in the UK. This brought an influx of new thought and practice, but also highlighted areas of commonality between local and international art.  

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Emerging again!

So I may have slightly fallen off the face of the earth in terms of updating this blog regularly, but that’s only because for the months of August and September I was stuck in a smog of final dissertation revisions, job hunting, and anxiously waiting for my dissertation results. While the job hunt rolls on, I am proud to say I achieved PhD progression-worthy marks on my dissertation, and I also have some other cool things going on, which I’ll give a rundown on below!

  • I wrote about Hatoful Boyfriend, dating sims, and the danger of spoilers for Storycade
  • I was offered a spot as a regular review writer at super cool game/art magazine The Arcade Review (check out their Patreon to help them keep expanding!)
  • I plan on releasing my MSc thesis “Videogames in Art Museums: Perspectives on Theory and Practice” (with a snappier title hopefully) as a more screen-friendly and accessible ebook on Gumroad for a donation of $3 (the intro will be free)
  • I have begun storymapping and creating resources for my long-forthcoming hypertext novel Remote Viewing which I plan to write and release as part of NaNoWriMo
  • And, as of about an hour prior to writing this post, I completed my first electronics project!

What I used here was the Technology Will Save Us DIY Synth Kit, which is a nice, no-solder, easily moddable kit to make a simple synth circuit on some breadboard. It’s a great way to get the “guts” of an analog synth right in front of you, and I had a great time making it. I love futzing around with the really intense and weird sounds you can get out of electronic circuits, and while this one only offers  volume, pitch and frequency control it still didn’t disappoint.

Anyway, that’s all for now, but know more is on the way… sooner than two months away, at least.

Art Worlds in Game Worlds

“The Art World” is a clumsy, indistinct turn of phrase that is much lamented and often criticized or lampooned for its overuse, but it has its purposes. We hear “the art world” and tend to roll our eyes sometimes, but it does imply the sites of art production, and related commerce, display and academic reflection that are tightly networked together, arguably increasingly global and homogenous, in our current situation. Simultaneously, as games are getting more sophisticated (technologically at least) the rhetoric surrounding their value as an experience has shifted from linear-yet-interactive narrative to microcosmic worlds for the player to explore. Whether or not games being produced are living up to this hype and are really that different is another discussion, but if we run with the assumption that games are or at least attempt to represent their own worlds, then, like little conceptual nesting dolls, wouldn’t each game world have it’s own art world inside when you pop it open?

Some games do. And even if they’re simplified copies of styles and systems existing in our “Art World,” as a person who loves both games and art history, I can’t help but notice. One of the long-term goals I become most feverishly obsessed with in the already highly-addictive Animal Crossing series is filling up the art gallery in my town. Unlike objects like furniture, clothes, and natural items, art can’t be found lying around or in the town’s main shops. Instead, you have to cut a deal with a shifty art salesman who drifts into town every week or so.

"Can I have some provenance documents? No? That's what I thought..."

Can I see some provenance documents? No? That’s what I thought…

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