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September 15, 2006

Gaming Realities


Virtual Spaces are the New Public Spaces

In less than a month Gaming Realities, one of the biggest festivals to date encompassing the critical exploration of videogames in the fine arts and humanties, kicks off in Athens. The festival hosts a great line up of artists and speakers, many of which we've covered or archived here at Selectparks over the years (Blast Theory, Sir Frasca, Darwinia, Eastwood Group, Molleindustria and many more). I'll be there, so if you're at the festival come to my keynote and ask some impossibly difficult questions when I least expect it. Cheers! Read on for the comprehensive press release and exhbition details. [posted by julian on selectparks]

EXHIBITION: NetODrom by Christoph Anthes, Alexander Wilhelm, Helmut Bressler, Roland Landershamer, Johannes Zarl, Silke Wiesinger; Austria, 2005 :: Can you see me now? by Blast Theory; U.K., 2001 :: Philosopher Death Match by Benjamin Chang; U.S.A., 2006 :: Grid Chase - The 5€ Dance Pad Project by Dimi Christopoulos; Greece, 2002-2006 :: Himalaya’s Head by DEVART; Netherlands, 2005 :: Civilization IV – Age of Empire by Eastwood Group; Serbia, 2004 :: N o w h e r e - ein welt raum spiel by Sylvia Eckermann, Gerald Nestler, Christof Cargnelli, Oliver Irschitz; Austria, 2005 :: Bordergames by Fiambrera; Spain, 2005 :: Postvinyl by Mathias Fuchs; U.K., 2005 :: Lykno by David Gauthier, Henri Marino, Laurie Prevot, Jean Batiste Spieser; France, 2006 :: Semiomorph by Troy Innocent; Australia, 2001 :: Darwinia Introversion Software, U.K., 2005 :: Ready Played by The Ludic Society (Margarete Jahrmann/Max Moswitzer); Austria/Switzerland, 2006 :: Kalamiotou_02 by The mamayans; Greece, 2006 ::

Max Payne cheats only by Jodi; Netherlands :: Ariadne’s Sonic Threadball by Panagiotis Koutlemanis, Dimitris Dinieas; Greece, 2006 :: Façade by Michael Mateas, Andrew Stern; U.S.A., 2005 :: The McDonalds’s Videogame by Molleindustria; Italy, 2006 :: Soviet Unterzogersdorf the adventure game by Monochrom; Austria, 2005 :: Book and Volume by Nick Montfort; U.S.A., 2005 :: The making of Balkan wars: the game by Personal Cinema; Greece, 2004 :: Disaffected by Persuasive Games; U.S.A., 2006 :: Interactive Circus by Prof. Marie-Helene Tramus, Cedric Plessier; France, 2005 :: Jumping Rope by Orna Portugaly, Daphna Talithman, Sharon Younger; Israel, 2004 :: Global Conflicts: Palestine by Serious Games Interactive; Denmark, 2005-2006 :: Boys in the Hood by Axel Stockburger; Austria/U.K., 2005 :: The endless forest by Tale of Tales; Belgium, 2005 :: Game Music by Vladimir Todorovic; Serbia, 2004-2005 :: Fijuu2 by Julian Oliver, Steven Pickles; Germany - New Zealand, 2006 :: Coin Snatch by sheismartha, Alexandros Plakidas Dasios; Greece, 2006 :: History Lost Redux by University of the Aegean; Greece, 2006 ::

Conference Highlight:

The democratisation of virtual environments
Personal Cinema
International New Media Collective

A spectre is haunting Virtual Environments, their democratisation.

It is the spectre of democracy, which after the abandonment of its physical space [real life] sinking more and more in the contradiction of lies and the cancellations that lead to its constitution, it breached the relations with the real and it became itself a spectre. This is how the paradox of spectre occurred, the wandering shadow of democracy. A spectre that tries to penetrate, and aims to democratise the new kind of ghosts that constitute the space which forms a major element of human experience: The Virtual Environments.

The democratisation of virtual environments, computer and video games is one main debate issue in the industry of interactive media. In new media and especially video games the democratisation is related mainly to the fact that the user, in the context of interaction and personalisation, takes major part in the creation process of the games themselves. Mods, thousands of volunteer designers in Half Life, Everquest, Oblivion, and Quake, are examples of how the users participate in the creation process. If we are able to discuss something new in new media it is the user’s capability to participate in the creation process. This capability is not a gift or an offer of a generous democratic technology, but immanence within its own structure, it is an immediate reflection of the conflicts that constitute this capability of participation which has as its final destination democracy.

In other words, speaking of the conditions which arose from the utopian meeting of spectres, which magical ritual could be useful for both the old spectre of democracy and the ‘spectral’ world of virtual environments?

The vast majority of the users understand democracy according to the quantity of interactive “clicks” which represent the voting “right” in cyber space. The image of the voting procedure and democratisation in virtual space isn’t the supposed infinite choice of different web pages or the user’s ability to create personalised narration in a video game; it is the image of the cursor itself over the icon of “choice” accompanied by the sound of the “click” which really is the extension of the image of the poll and the hand that is “capable of choosing”.

How is possible to revive democracy in the realm of the potential, when within the context of the objective it became a commodity that has usually been exported and imported via violence?

Posted by jo at September 15, 2006 09:32 AM