Two days of presentations, keynotes and discussion (28-31 August) – final schedule of conference tracks/presentation will be published shortly. The conference will be held at the Penryn/Temough Campus of Falmouth University. To book your place at conference (30/31 August) or to attend workshops and conference (28-31 August) please see Registration details and visit Online Store where tickets and accommodation can be purchased.
As creative lead on the BAFTA award-winning Tearaway at Media Molecule, Rex Crowle worked with the team to craft its magical world realistically from paper, and then fit it all inside a PlayStation Vita. Rex has been at Media Molecule since the early days, and his unique art style has had a big influence on the studio’s games, shaping the visual styles of LittleBigPlanet and its sequel, along with the creatively anarchic visual identity of the studio itself...more…
Kristina Andersen (Denmark) is a researcher and storyteller at STEIM (Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music) in Amsterdam. She works with electronics and reclaimed materials to create unusual objects and experiences. She holds a Cand. Arch. [wearable computers], a M.Sc [tangible objects in virtual spaces], and was a research fellow at the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea (IT). She is a Founding Research Fellow .more..
Ivani Santana (Brazil) – my artistic and academic research is the aesthetics of the contemporary body. The body is understood here in his dimension of human knowing and involved with the environment that inhabits. Accordingly, dance and performance are possibilities of researching the contemporary body imbued by Digital Culture. The creative process mediated by digital technologies promotes a wide field of investigation of human perceptions (e.g. dancers as well as the audience). Thus, my interest in dance with technological mediation has always been focused on ..more…
Dr Esther MacCallum-Stewart is a Research Fellow at the Digital Cultures Research Centre, The University of West England and a Senior Lecturer at the University of Surrey. Her work examines the ways in which players interpret gaming narratives, and has recently turned to more specific views of sex and sexuality in and around gaming, and the importance of player created..more…
Duncan Speakman is a composer and director of the artists collective ‘Circumstance’. Circumstance attempt to create cinematic experiences in uncontrolled environments. These experiences take many forms, from mass participation performances and intimate in-ear stories, to books, installations and soundwalks. They take melancholy and romance and wrap it up in the politics of mobile audio technology..more…
The paper describes the development and evaluation of a prototype performance system which has been developed as part of a practice led PhD investigating Multimodal Performance and Improvisation (Brown 2014). The context for the research is provided by referencing examples of contemporary multimodal productions, performative concepts of mediation (Auslander 2008), the Double (Causey 1999) and notions of the Uncanny (Mori 1970, Jentsch 1906, Freud 1919).
The delivery of the paper will include images and video of multimodal productions and video examples of the system in operation, potentially with a live demonstration. The system will also be presented in the Fascinate workshops (28/29 August).
The system enables a performer to be transformed into another character by the projection of a computer generated avatar onto a performer. The performer wears a white outfit and video glasses so that they see themselves from the perspective of the audience. The projected character follows the movements of the performer in real-time by means of the Microsoft Kinect and the Unity games engine.
In his book Ecology Without Nature (2007), Timothy Morton argues that in order to “have a properly ecological view, we must relinquish the idea of nature.” This paper/presentation reflects on Morton’s premise and the statement above, presenting artworks that use technology as a means to engender public engagement and/or action toward an understanding and/or mitigation of ecological problems. By focusing on specific environmental issues, such as biodiversity loss, carbon load associated with air travel, water uses and toxic waste sites, the works are removed from a tradition of aestheticizing nature without negating the ‘idea’ of nature. In fact, the works make visible what is normally hidden, that of the consequences of resource consumption on ecosystems and their service value, both aesthetically and systemically. Furthermore, the paper attempts to tackle the often-avoided topic of ecological impacts from the hidden infrastructures that service digital/online/mobile technologies and the perceived dematerialization of these ubiquitous technologies.
The works to be discussed are; Mobile Eco-studio and desertARTlab, Matt Garcia and April Bojorquez, a socially engaged art collective from Arizona, that uses interventionist performance, GSM and web communications, and land installation to mobilize the community to replant, then monitor, desert flora in vacant urban lots; Real Costs by Michael Mandiberg, a web browser plug-in that inserts CO2 emissions data into air travel e-commerce websites; David Wicks’s Drawing Water visualizes water resource locations and consumption into an interactive, digitally constructed landscape; Dan Collins’s, Flooding Phoenix, an elaborate speculative digital and physical sculpture that visualizes sea level rise (opposite of what we would normally assume would happen during a water crisis), flooding an inland desert metropolis; The Endangered Species Finder by Beatriz da Costa, a mobile application that assists the user to locate, identify and submit sightings of endangered species; and, my current project, Mobilis, a human-powered mechanism that requires physical activation of satellite derived images of national parks and the encroaching industrial activities, making visible toxic waste sites and disrupted wildlife corridors adjacent to culturally significant lands.
This article aims to analyse the possible reconfigurations in music creation articulated by the integration of technology with musical instruments.
To this end, this paper aims to investigate the use of mobile phones and tablets by musicians and music producers; this is accomplished through the analysis of two categories: (a) applications that transform mobile phones and tablets into musical instruments and (b) musical instruments emerging in the digital age that incorporate mobile phones and tablets into their bodies by using touchscreens as well as by digital expansion effects allowed by the device.
Thus, the article uses the following cases as objects of research: (a) Mogees: Its launch was accomplished through a crowdfunding campaign, which raised nearly 100 thousand euros from 1,600 supporters. Mogees consists of a sensor that picks up the vibration of any object and translates it into audible sounds. Coupled with a mobile phone, this sensor can turn any object into a musical instrument. (b) Misa Tri Bass: It is a synthesizer controller which enables an interaction between the user and the instrument, seeing as its body has no strings or buttons. On the freeboard, the musician simply slides his hand to form the chords; however, where there would normally be strings, there is instead a tablet installed in the bo
In recent years, the appearance of a new model for early-access game making has driven a surge in the profile of games that centre on elaborate, system-based experiences focused on an engagement with the complex rules of the game world. Minecraft was the progenitor of this model; a procedural, creative game which developed and changed with the experiences of early adopters. These games take elements that are originally what Warren Spector called ’emergent’ gameplay experiences, unexpected effects created by the interaction of game-rules, and weave them into the central ludic process. Kerbal Space Program is one such game, but is perhaps unique in its application of the ‘open development sandbox’ model with a remarkably scientific approach to simulation.
A game centred around the realistically simulated design, construction and flight of Apollo-era spacecraft, KSP is essentially a moon rocket sandbox game, largely devoid of direct player instruction, direction, or tutorial. Yet Kerbal Space Program as the thousands of YouTube videos cataloguing the voyages of endless Kerbals will attest. Indeed, the game has even caught the attention of NASA, who recently co-operated with SQUAD to bring hypothetical near-future NASA missions into the game. Doug Ellison of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory told Polygon this year: ‘Rocket science’ is that phrase that means anything that’s impossibly complex to understand and do…. (Kerbal Space Program) has made some of its core principles comprehensible, adorable and, above all else, enormous fun.’
This adoption of procedural, mechanical learning rather than as a focus and guide for players over a narrative makes Kerbal Space Program a remarkable and educative experience. If we adopt an academic approach to critical engagement, however, KSP (and its ilk) are theoretically challenging and structurally unique. If we split games, as Juul suggests, into ‘rules’ and ‘fiction’, then Kerbal Space Program is thin on fictional, narrative content in any traditional sense; much of the appeal is the creation of an intrinsically unique narrative by each player.
Academic games studies has begun to engage with individual texts at length, but so far analysis has generally been focused on story-driven works which adopt existing textual structures from other media. This paper will begin to engage with the questions of academic critical analysis that these more emergent games raise. Primarily, this paper will offer a close reading of Kerbal Space Program, centred on an adapted Barthesian analysis of the semiotic fixtures which hold up and explain the game’s systems. By examining how KSP uses cultural iconography to explain and contextualise player actions, we can begin to understand how Kerbal Space Program constructs systems which encourage, rather than mandate, certain outcomes. In turn, this paper hopes to address some of the theoretical and necessarily phenomenological processes that these games mandate.
The Hayle Churks mobile phone app has been developed using oral histories, historical information & archive images to reanimate a post-industrial landscape experiencing rapid change through re-development. The app walk involves direct physical and sensory interaction with place whilst being periodically deeply immersed in an aural soundscape triggered by GPS.
Stretching time by leaping between decades and switching between close-up personal stories and large public events, an alternative way to reveal the layers of stories within our environment is offered. Rather than taking part in a linear heritage tour that contextualises voices and directs the gaze, the Hayle Churks participant drifts through located memory traces, myth, ‘fact’ and song, piecing together clues whispered into the ears, presented on the screen or present in the physical landscape while walking in the steps of the speakers. The experience can last the length of a film or theatre performance giving time for the participant to flick between the present – reality, and the past while inviting them to look into the future and their own legacy.
Discussion of quantitative and qualitative data collected after app tests and lessons learned during embodied research and the cyclical creative process will probe whether locative media distances or deepens our relationship with landscape.
The Hayle Churks app is published free on iTunes.
This paper seeks to explore how video games challenge us to reflect on the nature of creation and aesthetic judgment through their representational styles via the comparative analysis of two video games: Kane and Lynch 2 and The Unfinished Swan. What do these games have to say about what it means to create and how do their representational styles reflect on this problem?
The Unfinished Swan (Giant Sparrow Games & SCE Santa Monica Studio, 2012) a first person puzzle adventure game that tells the story of a boy chasing an unfinished painting of a swan through an abandoned magical kingdom. The game’s minimalist aesthetic covers the basics of markmaking with levels dedicated to contrast, shading, lighting and the illusion of three dimensional space. The player starts off in total whiteness but with the use of a magical paintbrush they reveal a path by splashing black ink on the canvaslike world to find the kingdom’s missing creator. The game deals with the responsibilities inherent in the act of creation, exploring dissatisfaction with one’s own legacy and the acceptance of the impermanence of a ‘finished work’. The Unfinished Swan is essentially a parable of the frustration and eventual acceptance by 1 an author of the inability to control how their work is received or interacted with.
Kane and Lynch 2 is a third person shooter about two lowlife criminals who accidentally kill the daughter of a high ranking Chinese government official who tries to get revenge before they can escape Shanghai. The game focuses on a ‘found footage’ aesthetic that emphasises the abject, broken and random nature of the game’s narrative. It is unpleasant to play, watch and hear and is interesting when discussing games as art. Art is not necessarily sublime or beautiful but can also be abject and Kane and Lynch 2 can be viewed as an attempt to create an abject video game that feels depressingly real. It makes use of space in challenging ways, forcing players into claustrophobic and uncomfortably open and the poor audiovisual quality deliberately makes the game unpleasant to play and reflects the game’s bleak and random narrative and tedious gameplay.
In discussing these two games it can be shown that the representational style of a game can be both aesthetically expressive and reflexively abject. Both games prompt the question of what motivates the creation of artifacts: Kane and Lynch 2 asking ‘why create this?’ and The Unfinished Swan asking ‘why create anything?’. The paper links the discussion to examples from fine art and art history discussing both games alongside the philosophies and history of the impressionism, dadaism and abject art movements. The works and ideas of Claude Monet, Wassily Kandinsky, Marcel Duchamp and the Chapman brothers are employed to parallel the development and implementation of different representational styles in video games and how these reflect on the philosphy of creating artwork.
It is our intention to present a contribution concerning digital technologies in contemporary art, and mostly regarding the theme of “Digitising Ecologies”. Our approach takes as a challenge to show how digital technologies can enlarge our relationship to environment, through landscape concept. Although, in our perspective, this process must rely not only on digital technologies, but on its interplay with traditional art pratices, like painting.
The presentation focus on technology and media as driving forces of cultural dynamism, and landscape, through its carrying capacity for cultural identity, which are also subject to changing due to technological and artistic disclosures. Moreover, the genius loci, the divinity of the place, recognized in the local mark, can attain an aesthetic dimension. Nevertheless, in the digital age, the place loses much of its specificity -- its not about “that landscape” anymore. The meaning of the place became, through digital interfaces, changeable, hybrid, open to different identities and multiple virtual dimensions.
Our proposal is a compositing: the material and the virtual in a creative transit through different media -- from 3D software, drawing, photography, painting to innovative digital technologies. During the conference, it will be presented images of natural digital environments, which are virtual creations using terrain rendering software. But also paintings relying on this non--existent realistic digital places, which appear like landscapes without history or blank memory. In regard of the digital landscape, we´re now referring also to computer protocols (stages of image construction), not so much related to bi--dimensional representation, through conventional perception of reality: the cognitive, partly overlaps the spatial and optical. Looking at paintings inspired on digital environments, we come to believe on a place that doesn’t exist, with the guidance of our cultured vision and our habit to look at landscapes paintings, together with memory resources -- this enables us to look critically to new forms of cultural identity. This new scenarios may come to life through different order of appearance: A landscape painting may take for reference a 3D virtual landscape, or a magazine photo. Or a live landscape painting, in the natural field, may inspire now, in the studio, a 3D landscape.
After all, this process may turn in to a cycle. A 3D environment may augment the 2D information (image) of an original painting or photo (this new environment is probably different from the actual territory where the original painting took place). In the 3D environment we’ll have a new freedom to change camera positions -- besides, having this renderings as reference material, we may create, afterwards, new paintings and so on.
This path reminds us the artist is shaped by media and also mobilizes it in order to transform the material foundation of the landscapes we inhabit. Finally, we should justify that we must go further than conventional nature perception (e.g.,”The landscape! This is to admire and contemplate!”). So, we must emphasise the meeting between culture and nature, in a changing process where digital technologies, shapes artistic process or became a strategic partner of the artist.
A series of Location Based Games have been created via a co-design process in response to a ‘real world design problem’ initiated by the Sussex Wildlife Trust. The aim was to investigate how technological interventions can encourage outdoor play for older children; the Trust had found that 8 to 12 year olds are less inclined to voluntarily attend countryside events to learn about nature than younger children. The project has received funding through the University of Sussex and is also the subject of Doctoral Research at the University of Brighton. The work is significant, since studies have shown that spending time outdoors during these particular formative years will encourage visits during adulthood and also promote environmental awareness.
The focus for the work was to develop GPS based solutions that will encourage interaction with nature, rather than a focus on the screen or technology being used, whilst helping users to be simultaneously aware of the background game directives in order to lead them to the next experience. In particular the use of character and stories were considered to promote a flow of activity through the game narrative. The children helped to co-create a series of games through ARIS, an adventure game engine, developed by researchers at Wisconsin University . New co-design processes were also developed as a result of the work .
Key experiences from the game will be presented for conference delegates through Prezzi, however by also using the concept of ‘Quick Travel’ in the ARIS interface, they will be able to follow the game narrative and play through the story remotely during the presentation. It is also possible to recreate the game locations in a local outdoor environment for increased immersion outside of the presentation. It is hoped to get feedback on the work from experts and lay viewers alike as part of the co-design objectives of the project. We are all stakeholders for the appreciation of natural environments.
In the early 1820’s the whaling industry accounted for the shipment of over 27,000 tons of oil from Nantucket to Europe. With each voyage, ships had to load cobble stones from Europe in order to provide ballast during the trans-Atlantic return journey. Over a few years, cobble stones became abundant in Nantucket. With a prosperous economy and a free paving material, in 1821 the Surveyors of Highways requested the paving of Straight Wharf with cobble stones, a project which was extended in the following years. The street paving, which is now protected by law, started as a consequential detail but eventually became part of a spatial identity.
The second major unintentional consequence of ballast technology resulted from the use of seawater as ballast in life-supporting harbours, after the 1970s. As environmental laws started to become enforced, international harbours became cleaner and could once again support marine life. In the late 1970’s most ships used untreated seawater in order to balance themselves when empty, which they would dump into their destination port prior to loading cargo. This lead to the displacement of nonnative marine species from one country to another, such as the introduction of the invasive zebra mussel in the Great Lake region, US. Consequently native mussel species disappeared from the region within ten years, and substantial damage was undertaken by marine architecture which became covered with this alien species.
These two references serve as a backdrop to the investigative design research into the creation of consequential spaces as an unintentional product of the shipping industry.
CALL FOR FASCINATE CONFERENCE 2014 NOW OPEN
A PDF Document versioon of The Calls for Fascinate 2014 is also available for download. Taking place amidst the Falmouth Tall Ships Regatta, Fascinate 2014 invites artists, architects, choreographers, dancers, gamers, geographers, historians, illustrators, musicians, performance-makers, sculptors, technologists, educators and philosophers, the flooded and the land-locked to investigate, navigate and critique the outlands of technology, control and the uncontrollable. Opportunities are presented for papers/presentations at conference, educators and demonstrations at workshops, and for artists and performers in the showcase. Key themes for Fasicnate 2014:
We seek papers from a wide range of disciplines and perspectives. We welcome descriptions of practice as well as more philosophical reflections. All presenters are encouraged to maximise their use of visual media and performance when considering their paper and how it will be presented at conference. In your 500 word abstract please address how you intend to deliver your paper and how you might make your presentation engaging for a wider multi-disciplinary audience.
1. DIGITISING ECOLOGIES: the vice and the virtue of digitising our environment Contemporary, digital technologies are deployed by cultural practitioners to augment perceptions of time, space and process at immediate and remote locations. Devices might aim to increase a user’s awareness of more-than-human environments, or connect people to conditions framing a chosen social, historical or ecological aspect of location. Technology has also shown to produce and reinforce citizen-led alternatives to hegemonic practices; it for example enables more immediate collection of data on natural phenomena by people directly implicated by these conditions, such as farmers. Environmental charities and lobbying organizations eagerly employ technicians and programmers to develop applications that interpret our environment and engage an audience with environmental causes. Yet these technologies are implicated more deeply and subtly in changes wrought upon us and our entangled worlds. With the gradual surge of these practices we call upon artists, theorists, practitioners, and other researchers to critically reflect on the use and implications of digital technologies and their advocacy in the field of ecology, nature conservation, geography, environmental education, and rural and sustainable development. We seek proposals responding to the following lines of enquiry. Digital technologies are often understood and critiqued as acting ‘between’ people and their natural environment. Does the digitisation of landscapes and natural phenomena produce an enhanced relationship between humans and their environment, forging and deepening our experience of elusive and dynamic conditions? Or does it create what Baudillard (1994) calls hyperreality, in which the digital representation of reality becomes more real and attractive than an ‘authentic’ world? Do such technologies contribute to an extinction of experience (Pyle 2011), whereby we lose the ability to meaningfully engage without a digital interface? How might we reframe technology’s role in the correlation between humans and non-human world? Digital media have become an intricate part of all levels and areas of our society. We are masters of the technologies that we create, and their uses change our social and geopolitical environments. But not always in ways that we expect. Given ecological crises, how can we decide on the function and appropriateness of new interfaces and applications? Can technologies increase our resilience in the face of system collapses, responding in agile ways to unanticipated catastrophes and current socio-environmental challenges? Or are real-world, human and natural phenomena inherently uncontrollable? Do they allow the emergence of more sustainable practices by for example increasing the dissemination, preservation and adoption of traditional practices that have less negative impacts on the environment? How does this change our understanding of the world? How might we better negotiate the shifting boundaries between the planned and the contingent, the solid and the fluid, between tradition and progress?
2. ART & CRAFT GAMES: the art and craft of digtal games & the use of contemporary arts & craft practices in building game worlds The industrial landscape of digital games changes rapidly and radically; we are currently witness to an evolution born of changes to the distribution and market for games. Large game development studios are closing while small, independently developed games that bear the signature of authorship, craft and art are finding critical and surprising commercial success in ways impossible to predict only 5 years ago. This is due to several factors: distribution methods now enable small independent producers to reach global markets, the technology used to make games is becoming simpler to use and there seems to be a cultural desire for games generally and for those that explore new vocabularies and terrain, driven by developers who see games development as an art form rather than corporate venture. The art and craft games track seeks papers from game makers, artists, illustrators, sculptors, musicians and sonic artists, critical and cultural theorists focused on:
3. ALL THE WORLDS’ [ARE] A STAGE: augmented and distributed performance for a networked planet Combine ubiquitous access (the Internet); low cost high performance graphics platforms; low latency codecs; virtual world engines such as Unity; projection mapping and visualisation using open source – or low cost tools – like openFrameworks, PureData. MaxMSP-Jitter, VVVV, MadMapper and Touch Designer; motion detection and imagination. Facilitate new realities in augmented, physically dislocated yet virtually united, performance places and spaces. Local or global platforms, digitally enabled, massively distributed amongst stages, performers and audiences, where future creatives can develop fitting narratives for a connected planet, reaching audiences beyond the walls that enclose the traditional places of first-person physical performance. Papers are invited that explore:
4. GENERATIVE, LIVE & DANGEROUS: digital elements in music composition, live coding, hybrid instruments/instrumentalists and performance involving sound From generative composition to live coding and algoraves, retro-digital and high performance digitally enabled music creation and presentation platforms. Our sonic environment is embraced, enhanced, distorted and confused, by the motivation of experimentation or entertainment. Musicians, coders and sound creators that work with binary wire harnesses, loops, tools such as Super Collider, Ableton, Fluxus, Overtone and Max/MSP. Papers are invited that explore:
SHOWCASE: installations and performances for a tall ships town of 100,000 guests In 2013 the Fascinate Showcase instantly established itself as a must-attend evening for anyone wishing to see outstanding performances incorporating the latest digital techniques and technology applied to music, dance, projection, improvisation, theatre, installations and a team of VJs. Some 400 visitors experienced 50 performances and installations in 2013′s 12 hour Showcase evening. Checkout the 2013 Fascinate Showcase line up, pictures and video. In 2014 the Fascinate Showcase will relocate to down town Falmouth – shoreside, waterfront and afloat – running alongside the tall ships regatta and fireworks on the afternoon and evening of Saturday 30 August, with some installation opportunities available for the entire week of the regatta In addition to Fascinate delegates we anticipate 30,000+ visitors will be in Falmouth on the same day as the main Showcase events to see the Falmouth Tall Ships Regatta and evening fireworks which the Showcase is also a part of. All Showcase performances and installations will be open for viewing by the general public providing an amazing audience for participants in the Fascinate Showcase! Last year we showcased a diverse range of digitally enabled artists from 30+ countries. In 2014 we are seeking proposals for the following:
Due to demand for more in-depth and extensive workshops these have been increased to 2 full days at Fascinate 2014. Key workshop leaders have mostly been identified but we welcome proposals from track specific educators and technologists who would like to help run workshops or demonstrate specific technologies based on themes of conference. There is also an alternative workshop strand which will comprise several half or single day workshops; we are also open to proposals for these.
Document Formats: please submit your written proposals in only PDF, OpenOffice (.odf) or MSWord (.doc) formats. PDF is preferred. Video: if you wish to provide video or other large files in support of your proposal then please provide links where they can be viewed online or link to a dropbox folder. Proposals for papers (to be peer reviewed) should include:
Please submit your proposals no later than Monday 19 May 2014 to [email protected]
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