Future Cinema

Course Site for Future Cinema 1 (and sometimes Future Cinema 2: Applied Theory) at York University, Canada

Anthropy Questions + Lanier and Brackage links

Posted on | November 5, 2018 | No Comments

Hi everyone!

Excited for our journey to TIFF this week. I wanted to also pass along some links detailed the, at-times, troubled relationship between Stan Brackage and Carolee Schneemann – https://lux.org.uk/writing/revisiting-brakhage-3-containing-carolee-schneemann ; https://www.artpractical.com/column/interview_with_carolee_schneemann/ . I thought these would give a bit of context for some of Brackage’s work; it also gives Schneeman’s truly amazing “Fuses” more clarity – https://vimeo.com/12606342

Plus! Lanier interview: https://www.wired.com/story/interview-with-jaron-lanier/ . Very interesting talk about what we should be doing with our data, how it circulates, the issues with a “free” Internet.

And, please do not start playing this game if you have something to do (I lost two days to it). The interface is a bit cryptic (which I think is part of the fun), but I loved it: http://www.decisionproblem.com/paperclips/

Questions!

One of the strengths of Anthropy’s book, in my opinion, is the scope it takes in considering all the cultural and industrial (capitalistic) factors that go into producing and consuming digital games. What can be gained by considering the larger facts of game production when generating games (and cinema)? What do you think is the most encouraging factor in the current moment of game design and distribution? What do you think is the most discouraging factor in the current moment of game design and distribution?

On page 27, there is a long reflection on the value of “magic,” and, throughout the book, there is also a stress on not necessarily having to know the back-end of a tool in order to use it. While such tools (and WYSIWYG tools in general) grant wider access to complicated actions than more opaque ones, what might be some of the larger concerns with casting “magic” and having systems be “black boxes” to their front-end users? As makers, why might it be essential to know as much about the “magic” behind the end results (spells) that a maker constructs. Building this slightly on Lee’s question from the previous class about educating users, but also the discussion on page 53 about the hidden rules of games.

Page 53 discusses the roles of limits and rules in creativity – these are further explored in challenges that require makers to generate games in a set time limit. What are the benefits of giving yourself limits and constraints when making a creative document? What is the value in making “crap” games (as Anthropy later calls certain experiments, with affection)? One-off experiments? To not finishing, or polishing, a work?

The repeated insistence that games be a persona experience is exciting and a very interesting way to think through game design in the face of AAA games and larger game companies. Still, how can the “personal” game designer step outside their own solipsism to create games that empathetically consider their audience (the player)? What might be some useful strategies for imaging the “other” that is a piece of art’s audience and their reactions that that art? This question springs from my own fears (and experiences teaching creative writing at the university level) wherein makers use the “personal” as a bit of shield against critique or engagement beyond simply personal expression.

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