All posts by evyannb

Wrapping up E-lit and the blogs for Digital culture 103

So, here we are at the end of the Digital culture 103 course. The only thing remaining is this blog post and the exam. I have to say that I have enjoyed writing these blog posts and the experience of a different way of learning. I think that learning by reflection has been a fun way of learning and felt less tedious than reading and taking notes alone. I have spent quite a few hours writing, thinking about and researching the contents of these blog posts, although the blog posts for the video game section of this course was by far my favourite posts to write!

The dda’s has also been a fun element to this course, although a bit easy to put on hold when there is too much to do, and the stress is getting to you. I have to admit I have fallen a bit behind on them lately. Maybe I will do a few and pop into this blog post, just for shits and giggles.

For this blog post I will be taking a closer look at the E-lit piece High Muck a Muck: Playing Chinese, this is an interactive poem in the Hypertext fiction/poetry genre. I will also write a bit about a twitterbot I made. I named the twitterbot TheBotWitch, but more about that later. First lets have a look at High Muck a Muck.

 

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Screenshot of the initial screen where you enter the interactive poem. If you want to experience the interactive poem hit the link in the text above. You can also find out more info on the creators on this site.

As I mentioned above this poem is a Hypertext poem, which means that you click on links that lead you to connected parts of the text or separate unconnected elements of the Hypertext piece.

For High Muck a Muck this is visual elements that lead to different stories and experiences from the immigrants contributing to this piece. The way I experienced reading this text, was to find elements of a whole and piecing them together to form a picture of what it ment to be an immigrant in general and in this particular setting; immigrating from China to Canada. This gave me an insight into the lives and experiences of the people contributing to this piece.

One moves through this text clicking in interactive elements that link to different texts, audio clips and videos telling stories that I experience as parts of a whole, a bigger picture. Some of the interactive elements are animated and will react to the cursor with movement as well as being a clickable element that leads to another piece of the story.

I found this piece very engaging, and its complex multimodality enhanced the experience. Background noises helped set the scene, and audio of people telling their story added to the immersion and the empathy one experienced for the people and their experience as immigrants. The slight kinetic element of moving text and animated drawings gave the piece a dynamic and organic feel that kept the piece from feeling stagnant and boring. The style of the drawn elements and background audio added to the Chinese feel the piece has. This piece consists of, text, audio, video, drawn artwork and animation, creating a complex multimodal expression.

To me this reads as a comment on immigration. The experience of building a new life, a new society away from everything that is familiar, and the challenges and opportunities that this presents. I also think that it reflects on culture and identity. What happens to your culture and identity in a situation where you find yourself in a new and strange country, trying to build a new life? How do you keep hold of your identity and yet adapt to a new culture? I think that there is a hint in the second generation immigrants but also in the reflections of immigrants who are at the last phases of a life as an immigrant. Culture and identity is ever evolving and changing, and you can see this when older immigrants reflect on their lives in the new country and the culture, identity and traditions of second generation immigrants. The culture, identity and traditions from the “old” country gets merged with the ones they pick up from the new one, and then creating new ones, adapted to their new lives. This is a lengthy process, and also a difficult one. Other elements of meaning I take with me from this is, how people in the country receiving  the immigrants reacts to this. How their reactions often makes it harder for the newcomers to adapt to their new life, and feel like they belong. I think this is important to keep in mind, not to push people away, just because they are the “others”. They bring with them a culture that is unfamiliar, but what we sometimes forget is that ours is just as unfamiliar to them. I think we should use this insight into what it can mean to be an immigrant, to be more compassionate, understanding and perhaps learn a thing or two from our new residents. The unknown is only the unknown if you let it, and it is only scary if you let it remain as the unknown.

I round off this close reading of High Muck a Muck with a little song about fear, that I have shared before. But I think that it summes up acting on irrational fear without educating oneself before acting. If we bother to do so, I think this world would be a better place. Beneath the video I will write a bit about my experience with creating a twitterbot.

 

The next thing I want to write about is the twitterbot I created. This is also a different genre of E-lit; Generative fiction. This is literary works that is created by sets of rules or by using algorithms. This allows the writer to create works that seem to have a random element to them but is created by fixed rules hid in the background.

The twitterbot I created has a fixed overall structure, but certain elements within this structure gets chosen randomly from a selection of words.

I had some issues trying to create this bot, and at first when I initiated it to tweet I thought I had failed and was ready to give up. However, I was mistaken, and it did work. At this point I thought yaay!!!! But then, I realised that I had not really created anything. The bot was using a pre made recipe for the text it was tweeting. So then I had to figure out something fun and interesting for this bot to generate.

I did not have a plan for what this twitterbot was going to be, nor did I have a neat and thoughtful name for the bot. The name I ended up with was TheBotWitch, and was just a spontaneous random name that popped into my head, most likely because I am currently reading the books the game The Witcher is based on. Excellent books by the way, worth having a look at.

When I was fiddling around with the word options for the random element of the generated text, I figured I would give it a witchy feel. By that I mean words like potions, spells, herbs for one section of randomness, names of crystals and minerals for another and different fantastical creatures like dragons, elves and gnomes for the last witchy random elements. The other random elements are colours and adjectives. I also added a @netnarr in order to spam the Netnarr backchannel a bit with my bot. Then I realised the connection to Netnarr! We call ourselves digital alchemists, and alchemy and witchery is kind of part of the same genre of things. I came to the conclusion that it was quite fitting although the idea was quite spontaneous and random. I also figured I needed a profile picture for both the twitter profile and the google profile I created in order to create the twitterbot, it is my own creation and just really a quick sketch of a stereotype witchy character.

New experiences.

The video game phase of this course has ended and we are moving into electronic literature. I am feeling a bit sad about leaving video games behind. I really enjoyed exploring different aspects of video games in my blog posts and in class. I found the experience to be enlightening and entertaining.

Moving into electronic literature has me feeling both curious and slightly uneasy. I am not at all familiar with the subject although I love traditional literature. Well I say literature, I enjoy certain genres of literature. I guess this is something everyone can relate to, you have certain genres you prefer wether it be within music, art, literature, games etc. and that is ok. It would be weird if everyone loved everything always… But I digress, lets get back on track.

As I was saying I love literature, but electronic literature is something different; familiar yet different. I guess it is the different part I am wondering about, how is it different? How will it change the experience of reading? Will I enjoy it?

Electronic literature kind of contradicts the traditional way of reading, it challenges the built in habit of reading and forces you to read in a different way than what you are used to, and I suppose that requires some getting used to. The first time I tried to read Twelve Blue by Michael Joyce it was a weird experience, and I would not say that I enjoyed it as much as I enjoy reading in a more traditional way. I was more busy being frustrated over all these pieces of text that felt like they were scattered around without any connection between them. So, I put it aside and had a look at High Muck a Muck , I needed some time to get a real sense of this piece as well, but i found it easier to play around with and enjoy. I felt it was more cohesive than Twelve BlueBoth of these pieces falls under the E-lit genre Hypertext fiction/poetry. Maybe what I find a bit hard to get past with Hypertext fiction is that it might feel a bit less cohesive than traditional literature.

Anyway, since I have fallen a bit behind on these blog posts I thought that I would use that as an opportunity to have a second look at Twelve Blue, after spending a bit of time with High Muck a Muck to see if it would feel any different. I still find it a bit incohesive, but what I discovered was that I was able to enjoy the text itself more this time around instead of getting hung up on what I experienced as an incohesiveness in the piece. This time around I kind of felt that I never quite got to know the characters and the stories. I felt that they ended to fast, before I got a feel of who the stories are, if that makes sense.  I suppose that the stories does not have to be connected in any way, and I do not mind books that are collections of short stories. I wonder why I find this kind of story collection odd, compared to collections in actual books. Maybe I just need more time to explore and get used to this new way of reading, or perhaps I need to just put traditional reading aside, and stop comparing E-lit to trad. lit.

I did explore the collections a bit to see what I could find but High Muck a Muck was a piece that spoke to me, more so than any of the other ones I had a look at. I enjoy so much about it, from its multimodality to it being a commentary on real immigrants experiences. I will talk more about this in my next blog post.

I now realise that this post is all about Hypertext fiction/poetry, but this is just one genre we have been introduced to in our E-lit lectures. There is another genre I find quite intriguing, Kinetic poetry. The thing that is interesting to me about Kinetic poetry is how one can enhance or create new meaning through movement and sound connected to individual letters, words or sentences. The possibilities are endless, and I kind of feel like literature is moving into art in the way you can create visual meaning as well as the meaning behind the words in a piece of Kinetic poetry.

If you are interested in having a look at some E-lit for yourself, check out the pieces in these three collections:

E-lit collection one

E-lit collection two

E-lit collection three

I guess it is time to wrap up this blog post! For my next blog post I will be going deeper into High Muck a Muck and also have a look at another E-lit genre, so stay tunes for my next post!

 

Down the rabbit hole

In my previous blog post I explored audio in games and the effect the audible aspect of a games aesthetics has on the overall experience of a game, and how immersive the game is. Going further on the subject of immersion I wanted to reflect a bit on games and escapism.

Escapism is often perceived as something negative, the flight from the reality of ones life in sted of dealing with it. I want to argue that escapism is more than that, that escapism is not necessarily harmful but can also be quite helpful and enjoyable.

In my view escapism is an extension of the experience of playing a game or reading a book, it means exploring wonderful fictional worlds. I also find that elements of what is happening in ones real life and in the real world is mirrored in the “escape”, just as one can find parallels to our real world in many fictional books, movies etc. Which means that one is not simply refusing to deal with things one is subconsciously processing the different issues that is brought forth by the game, book etc. Now, not every game, book or movie has a serious undertone that provokes reflection, but I find that those games or books still provide something valuable through escapism. They feed my imagination and my creativity, and so it is not just entertainment that gives one a chance to relax, it also gives something useful back for the time spent playing a game or reading a book and wandering around in this fictional world. In a way I think it enriches my life rather than having a negative effect on it. I also find that different media inspires me in different ways. Playing video games and reading books is far more immersive than watching a movie, and so I find that it returns much more inspiration than watching a movie or tv- series. The only thing that might be just as inspiring as video games and books might be documentaries. These are my personal experiences, other people might experience that they get inspired by “escaping” through other media than what I get inspired by.

Perhaps wether escapism is negative or positive depends on why one seeks to “escape”, or maybe even that on actually is seeking a way to escape something that is troubling in ones real life in stead of dealing with it. Escapism or not, not deling with serious matters in ones life can be quite damaging. To me escapism is not the problem, but a means to an end in terms of trying avoiding dealing with serious issues in ones life.

Another thought is that the act of “escaping” can be provided by any hobby one might enjoy, wether it is gardening, nitting, painting, reading etc. My point is that i find it strange that escapism is perceived as something harmfull connected to certain pastime activities but not to others. This makes me question if the problem really is escapism or something else. Anything can be damaging if it engulfs ones entire existence.

Moving on to a different subject, I wanted to revisit empathy games. The week before easter led us into a discussion around empathy games. These are games that are designed to make you reflect around a certain topic, give you an insight into a situation or a topic you might not be familiar with. Now, I touched upon the subject of empathy games in a previous blog post, But having tested out a few more empathy games in class I thought I would express my thoughts on them.

We got to choose from three games to test out in class before doing a close reading of the one you chose to try out, I chose Bad News. This game is supposed to be a comment on and make you reflect on the issue of fake news. Now, I felt that it kind of made me reflect on fake news and that it kind of failed to make me reflect on the subject. I am not sure wether the fact that I knew that I was supposed to reflect on whatever subject the game was commenting on is what sparked the reflection of if the game it self provoked the reflection. What I was left with after playing the game was that if was lighthearted fun, and what became the main focus was the chase after followers, which is basically your score in the game. I felt that the seriousness of fake news disappeared in the gameplay, and did not resurface until it was time for the close reading afterwards.

In my opinion this game could gave been more thought provoking, and could have been designed differently in order to do what it was supposed to do. It fell a bit short for me in terms of making me reflect on the issue of fake news.

That said, creating a game to make people reflect on fake news, and maybe make people analyze what they read a little bit more critically is definitely worth while in this time where fake news is everywhere. It is so easy so spred lies, half truths, straight up propaganda and fearmongering. This is damaging to our society, and to democracy, but it can be helped if we as consumers act a little bit more critically and do not just believe everything that we read on twitter for example.

I thought I would end this blog post with a nice little song about fear, that I think offers a quite grounding view on fear.

 

 

 

That sounds good!

I have to admit that this blog post is a bit late, better late than never I guess… Anyway, let us get on weeks blog post. I originally intended to talk a bit about empathy games and serious games, because I think that it is an interesting subject and because of the games we tested out in class before easter. However, after the work we did this week I decided to address that subject in my next blog post, so keep an eye out for that. It will be coming up on my blog soon.

So, let us get into this weeks subject, for this weeks blog post I wanted to reflect on something that I find to be quite an important aspect of game aesthetics, the audio in games.

Music is quite important to me, and a big part of my everyday life. I find that music is quite powerful in provoking associations. An example might be how a particular tune can have the ability to transport you to a situation in the past; a memory. Or remind you of a book you read while listening to a particular tune or album, or to a game you play/played. However, the soundtrack is just one aspect of the audio in a game. Audio in games is so much more, and I find it quite important in order to enhance the immersion into a game. The Audio to me is a powerful tool in the creation of a video game. One can also argue that a lack of audio in some cases can make quite the impact on the player and as a part of the overall soundscape.

Everyone who have played games can relate to a popular game’s signature musical aspect. The feeling you might get when you hear the music from Mario bros or The legend of Zelda. This soundtrack that instantly brings you back to your childhood playing your favourite game with your friends. The soundtrack becomes a part of the games identity.

 

The soundtrack in a game makes use of the ability music has to set the mood, the music then becomes an important part of immersion and communication with the player. Examples might be how the music changes when one is entering a dramatic fight scene, or how music can illustrate that something scary is to come, but music can also enhance how serene other scenes feel to the player. The music enhance the visuals, and further can enhance how immersive a game is.

 

The audio in a game is not just the music involved, equally important is different sounds: voices, the narrator, animal noises, footsteps, the wind blowing, the birds chirping etc. These sounds also enhance the immersion, and perhaps even more so than the music in the game because they create a sense of reality and authenticity within the fictional world of the game.

 

My conclusion that audio is an important tool to create an immersive experience when playing a game, and how important it is to be aware of how one uses all the aspects of the audio when creating a game experience. It is also important to be aware of the connection between audio and visuals within the game in order to make them enhance the effect both aspects have on the player. So when creating an immersive game it is important to look at how all the pieces work together, how the audio is placed to support and enhance the other aesthetics in the game, and how the aesthetics support the mechanics and dynamics to enhance the players experience of the game.

Let’s end with a fun little video!

So much more than a game.

In my blog post last week I mentioned that was rather excited for games as a subject and the aesthetic element of games. I had a plan for the blog post this week, and it was to write about the aesthetic element in games. Now, this changed due to the content of this weeks lectures. I think I might have mentioned that we are doing game showcases in class for the part of this course related to video games, and a couple of these gave me a new idea for this blog post.

These showcases gave me a different perspective on what a game could be, on the potential the “game” concept could have beyond entertainment. There were particularly two showcases, two games that sparked my interest in how a game can be more than entertainment alone, or rather, how a game can be helpful to our society, and in our lives and how we interact with the world and the people around us.

 

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The first of these games is Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice by Ninja Theory. This is a dark fantasy action-adventure game, and it is inspired by Celtic culture and Norse mythology. Now, based on this alone I think the game sounds interesting, and Norse mythology is quite popular these days, much because it was made popular by the Thor franchise and the How To Train Your Dragon franchise and their interpretation of Norse mythology. However what I found really intriguing was how you are playing the character Senua who suffers from psychosis, and that at the time period the game is set in psychosis was not a known concept, and in the game it is referred to as a “curse”.

I find this really interesting how the game allows you to experience how psychosis feels and how it might be to suffer from this mental illness. The developers have managed to give the player an opportunity to experience psychosis and even other mental illnesses with similar symptoms. This game does not only give the player the experience of living with psychosis, it also gives the player a better understanding of the illness, which is helpful to people actually suffering from psychosis. This game can also help raise awareness of mental illness.

Rikke, who showcased this game also showed us a video of some of the feedback the developers had gotten from people who had played the game. I find the feedback extraordinary and rather moving. Many players, both people around individuals suffering from mental illness and individuals that have overcome or are still suffering from mental illness talked about the understanding of the illness that they got from playing this game, and how it improved communication about the illness.

To me, it is astonishing how a video game can be so helpful and useful in human interaction concerning mental illness. I never realised that video games had the potential to help people in this way, to contribute to our society in that way. A way that uses the video game media to put people in the shoes of someone suffering from a certain condition or in this case mental illness (psychosis), to help them understand this condition and the ones suffering from it better, and in turn to help and support them better.

My immediate thought is that if we manage to use this potential in a good way we might be able to help a lot of people struggling with different issues. A game like this could give  people a way to perhaps better express themselves to the people around them, and at the same time give the people around them the opportunity to play the same game to get a better understanding of the struggles that follows different illnesses.

I think that this concept of using a game in the way they have in Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice is absolutely brilliant, so many people today are struggling with mental illness, and are having a hard time talking about it or are unable to make the people around them fully understand how they feel. In many cases the lack of understanding is a result of ignorance, and the people suffering from mental illness have to deal with not being believed when they try to talk about how their illness manifests in their lives. This game has improved this aspect of the lives for some of the players, on both sides of mental illness, and I cannot help but think that this is so amazing! And just to think of the potential to help more people in a similar way, I just, we just need to use this… Anyway moving on!

 

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The other game I wanted to mention is Cities: Skylines by Colossal Order, this game is a single-player open-ended city-building simulation. This is also a game I believe could be helpful to people in certain professions, such as urban planning. I also think that Thomas (who showcased this game) mentioned that it is in some cases actually used as a design aiding tool by some urban planners. However I think that the design idea behind this game could be developed to help a wider array of space design professions such as landscapers, architects or even interior architects as a way to test a design. I think it might be a helpful aid in finding unforeseen issues with a design or unpredicted positive aspects to a design as well as be a useful tool in developing an interactive physical space, in a better way than what is currently available. I will admit that I do not know too much about the different tools available to these professions besides CAD ( Computer Aided-Drawing or Design), physical models and 3D rendering software. Compared to the tools mentioned, a tool similar to Cities: Skylines provides a much more in depth understanding of how a space would flow than, say, a rendering or an actual miniature model would.

I guess that what I am getting at is that I have discovered a hidden potential in video games that I was not aware of before I saw these game showcases. A potential that can be helpful and improve the life of many people and our society on both a deeply personal and a professional level. I also find this to be a refreshing contrast to all the negative bias sometimes surrounding gaming, blaming games for violence, mass shootings and pretty much everything else that is going to shit in our society.

Until next time, have a wonderful week and play some games!

 

 

 

Am I a gamer!? Who would have thought…

So, I want to talk a bit about video games.

We are soon in mid march, and spring is still nowhere to be seen. Nevertheless, we are moving on from digital art to video games. Now, as I have mentioned before in an earlier blog post, I do not consider myself to be a gamer. However, in this weeks lecture we were presented with four terms or categories of what a gamer is, or can be, and to my surprise I found that I actually fit into a couple of these categories.

A short description of the categories of gamers mentioned in class; Casual Gamer: Is a person who plays games to relax and unwind more than for the challenge of it. For the casual gamer, gaming is more of a light hobby. Social Gamer: For a social gamer, connecting with people is important. Games with a strong online community is favoured. Specialist Gamer: Is very focused on getting the most out of the games they play, and they know what type of games they like and stick to those. Expert Gamer: This person is not necessarily a very skilled gamer, but is someone who is into everything game related.

I found that I had elements from quite a few of these although neither one fit perfectly. I love to play a few games, but I am not doing it for the challenge but rather for the experience of the world and the story of the game. I am quite relaxed about gaming and it varies how often I play games. I choose the games I play based on the atmosphere the game has. The visual aspect and the music is quite important to me when I am looking for new games to play. I know what I am looking for, and what kind of games I like to play. I also have to say that I am in no way a very skilled gamer, but I have been called a completionist and yes, I guess I am exactly that.

I think one of the reasons I never considered myself to be a gamer is that I have only just recently started playing video games. I used to play more when I was younger, a lot younger. My favourite games at that point were Super Mario bros, Little Samson and Sonic the hedgehog. Another reason I did not consider myself to be a gamer is the meaning I put into the word “gamer”, to me a gamer was someone who sort of embodied all of the categories mentioned above. I have now discovered that the meaning behind the word and what a gamer actually is, is a lot more complex and that I actually can call myself a gamer.

 

I do not think that I am alone in having this stereotypic view on what a gamer is, and I think that is a bit sad. Many gamers might be excluding themselves from this quite wonderful community because they do not realize that they are actually a part of it. Much in the same way that I did.

I also quite enjoy searching for new games to play, and I really enjoy watching “let’s plays” of games I already enjoy or of games I might like to play. I am also a bit picky so at the moment I have only found three games that I love. Unfortunately one of them is way to hard for my poor skillset and underdeveloped patience, but it is so beautiful. Having to try to get past a challenge ten times or more is just not going to happen, I get way too infuriated when I can not get past the challenge fast enough. I hope that one day I will be able to play Ori and the Blind Forest, without possibly throwing the Xbox out the window.

I have mentioned one of the games I enjoy playing in an earlier blog post, and that is the game Child of Light by Ubisoft. Child of Light is a platform RPG game, and what I enjoy about this game is the atmosphere created by the subtle watercoloured artwork, the music and the storyline. I also like games where you explore a world and discover hidden treasures and other useful things that will help you further along in the game.

 

The next game that I want to mention is Seasons After Fall by Swing Swing Submarine. This is another game that I love to play, much for the same reasons as Child of Light. Again, the atmosphere of the game is a very important aspect. Seasons after Fall is a platform game where the challenges mostly consist of solving puzzles.

 

The third game I really like is Ori and the Blind Forest by Moon Studios GmbH, this is a platform-adventure game. This game is challenging, and I do not have the patience or the skillset to even get remotely close to the end of the game. However this is one of the most beautiful games I have ever seen. It draws you in, and it is beautiful and calming as well as very challenging and nerve wracking at the same time. I will play this game, I just need to develop my hand- eye coordination a bit more, as well as my patience.

 

I think I have made it quite clear that the sensation of the game is rather important to me as a gamer. To me games are as much an art expression as anything else, and I find that the visual and atmospheric aspect is what creates the illusion of being a part of another world, and what draws you into this great reality escape. Now, I love books, movies, cartoons, tv-series and art in various forms, but there is something different about games. They feel alive in a very different way, and this might be the due to the fact that they are much more interactive than most other media. Because of this, the immersion of a video game is typically stronger than that of other media. Most likely there are several factors that create the uniqueness of video games, however, I will not go further into those now.

For now I am quite excited for this new theme, and for exploring video games aesthetics, and writing more about this topic for next weeks blog post.

Also, go and check out my contribution to the “make” #SelfieUnselfie

 

 

 

 

#SelfieUnselfie

Selfie.

Even though a selfie, an image is supposed to say more than a thousand words it is still a challenge to, and even maybe impossible to portray your whole authentic personality in one single photo.

Why is this a challenge? Because any one personality is so complex and layered that a picture of ones face is simply not enough to tell the story of who a person is.

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What’s in a name? What’s in a face? How much of the true authentic Evy-Ann is communicated through an image of my face alone?

Your face is like the icing on a cake, it does not communicate too much about what went into making the cake. In a similar way ones face and appearance might give you a clue to a few aspects of a person, but there is still much left hidden.

Can you tell from this image of me that I love books and reading? what kind of books I like or that I really enjoy food and cooking? How about that I have a partner and a cat that I love very much or my level of crazy catladyness? And indeed everything else that is me. A lot is not communicated through this one selfie.

Unselfie.

In an attempt to let the cat out of the bag, and reveal a bit more about who I am I figured that my rather unsorted messy bookshelf would a good representation. It reveals a lot of what I like to spend my time doing, you have my cooking books, my fantasy books, books collected from various studies, art books and sketch books, my partners books… And indeed the fact that i have attempted to keep a sorted bookshelf and it ending up a bit messy and overcrowded is also quite descriptive of my personality.

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All of the elements mentioned above give a deeper depiction of all the different aspects that shape my personality. This is still just a little piece of who I am. As in real life it takes time to get to know a person, and understand who they are. Two images from my life is not nearly enough to get the full picture of what my personality consists of… Another aspect is, how do you know that this is even my bookshelf? How do you know that this is authentic and not just a way that I want to depict myself online that is not really who I am? In order to be able to judge whether this is authentic or not I think one needs more than a few pictures.

Some thoughts on art, and a bit more on digitization.

As I sit down to reflect on this weeks activities and what is happening with this course in general, I realize that I quite enjoy this course and how interactive it is. I am rather excited about this because it felt quite daunting at first. The history and development digital art, E-lit and video games was always appealing but the course involved many aspects that that made me uneasy at first, and some of them still do, or I am still a bit shy about being as “out there” as many of the others taking this course are. I admire them for this confidence I seem to be lacking, but I am trying my best to challenge myself to get over this shyness. One of the aspects that made me uneasy was the blog that we write every week. At this point I find that I rather enjoy writing these blog posts, and sharing my thoughts with others online does not seem so scary anymore. I am surprised by how quickly I got used to writing my blog. I also really enjoy reading my classmates blog posts and how different they all are.

I have always appreciated art, and art history was one of the first academic fields I really enjoyed working with. The art pieces I am drawn to include everything from ancient greek sculpture, ornamental baroque to modern digital art, but also everything from digital performance art, illustration, paintings and other media. I think it is important to have some knowledge of how the expression of art and aesthetics has developed through out history in order to better understand or maybe get a fuller experience of an art piece.

I also think that the flash close readings we have done in class helps to develop our ability to understand and interpret art better. To have an active thought prosess going while experiencing art beyond “oh how beautiful!”. We have had two of these close readings and both art pieces were beautiful and really interesting to try to interpret and to try to get a better understanding of the concept of each piece. It was a really enjoyable and engaging  way to learn.

In this course we have been introduced to some really great digital art pieces, however when I was trying to find an art piece from the net-art website to share with the netnarr community on twitter I found that quite difficult. All the projects I thought sounded interesting were either not available anymore or failed to engage me. Maybe I just need to look around a bit more to either find something that really speaks to me, or maybe I need to get a better understanding and appreciation of digital art to be able to enjoy some of the pieces that I found that I felt failed to give me anything to “work” with.

I wanted to have another look digitization, and the opportunities this provides the creative communities with. In the PressPausePlay documentary we meet an Icelandic musician called Òlafur Arnalds. He pointed out something that I thought was interesting and important. He mentioned that the classical music community sees it self as this genre that is separated from all the other music genres. Arnalds wants to see this “wall” between classical music and the other music genres broken down, and I agree with his idea of that digitization and the digital revolution will help to make this happen because of all these creative souls creating art without any consideration to of the restraint of what genre their art belongs in or if they are creating art that crosses over into several genres, but also because digital art tend to fit into more than one genre.

I suppose that the world of art has the same issue that music has with this one genre setting itself apart form the others. I am thinking of what is considered Fine Art, and everything else that is not included in this box that is called Fine Art. I do not think that having to fit into this mold to be able to be an acknowledged artist is healthy for one’s creativity  to develop and unfold it’s full potential. I think tearing down this barrier is one of the biggest contributions digitization has given the creative communities and creative individuals all over the world.

This brings me over to another positive effect of digitization, communication. Compared to a time before the internet, social media, e-mails etc. communicating with others, networking and finding likeminded people around the world has changed drastically, and it has made it possible and even easy to find a community that you identify with, to be a part of and to share you thoughts and your work with. It has also made it so much easier to promote your work to a world wide audience, virtually free of charge and without having to use companies specialized in promoting art. As a result of this more artists or creators is able to create, distribute, communicate and collaborate with people all over the world.

It is also easier to enjoy art because you can do so from the comfort of your own home, however I think there is something special about going to a gallery or a museum to experience art. Not necessarily better, but different. It is two different, but equal methods of enjoying art. Maybe some art pieces are best enjoyed in a physical gallery and other pieces are better suited for another method of displaying art.

Let us move on to something different!

I have some thoughts for the blog post for next week. In light of the selfie/unselfie installation Mia Zamora as asked us to participate in I thought I would like share some thoughts on online identity. As we all know everyone has their own unique identity, but how do you communicate who you are? and how much do we unconsciously communicate to others about ourselves? and how much is deliberate in order to present the world with this identity we want others to see? More on this next Sunday!

I also want to write about the studio visit with Emilio Vavarella we had this week, he talked about some really interesting subjects that I will reflect a bit more on in my post next week!

I almost forgot! and I always forget to include the DDAs I do and share with the netnarr community every week! Sundays have become the netnarr day of the week, and I always start of with a few DDAs, and here are my DDA contributions for this week!

 

And the last one!

Analogue to Digital- the revolution of digital art.

Earlier this week I sat down and watched the “PressPausePlay” documentary, and I really enjoyed it! It sparked my interest and gave me some ideas for this blog post. It also gave me a better insight into how the development of technology, availability and digitization has changed how we create, interact and experience art.

 

 

Anyone is an artist- the mystery of the professional artist is gone, because anyone can do it. In the first few minutes of “PressPausePlay” it is implied that the digital development in art has had this effect on art. However, the introduction of technology and digitization also allow more people to participate and create art, people that might not have been able to do that without this change in the art scene. This in turn can give us great artists that might not have had an opportunity to develop their creative talent without this digital revolution. The fact that anyone can create art and spread their work online also has a another side to it. One can argue that this makes the digital art scene cluttered with “lesser” art, however one chooses to define lesser art. I guess what I am trying to say is that you might have to search through a lot of art that you do not find interesting or moving before you find something that has an aesthetic effect on you. I guess that, as with all things, digitization, technology and the world wide web has its pros and cons.

With this digital revolution comes access to technology, different media, tools and opportunities to share you work with a world wide audience. This access allows artists and anyone who wants to create something to play around with different tools, media and ways of combining them to create something new. This is quite an exciting thing to me! One of my favourite examples of this combination of different media is the video game “Child of Light” by Ubisoft. This game has this wonderful watercoloured expression, and it is in my opinion a beautiful piece of digital art as well as “just” a video game. I find that I am quite drawn to digital art that has this kind of analogue feel about it, the way “Child of Light” has. The creators describe the game as a living painting, and that the concept art is the actual game art because they wanted you to see the hand of the artist in the game.

 

I wanted to know a bit more about how the game was created, and I found these “making of” videos on youtube.  The creators called it a playable poem that brings you along on a journey with the main character. This made me wonder, could this game also be considered electronic literature?

 

To be continued….

Minimeme….

It is time to write my second blog post, and I am feeling a little bit more confident about sharing my thoughts with whoever wants to read them. Last week I tried something new, I created a blog and posted my first blog post. This week I gave meme making a go, so I made two, but I think I only posted one of them on twitter.  Both of my memes were a play on what had happened in class the previous week.

Meme1

 

I made my memes during lab, and I found the whole experience quite amusing, but also with a hint of anxiety about posting them. Will others find them amusing? And other thoughts like that one pops into your head and make you feel a bit reluctant to post them. In the end you just need to put thoughts like these in the trash and move on! So I did.

I find this course rather refreshing and interesting because it challenges not only my knowledge but me as a person. It challenges me to step outside of my comfort zone, and as I am a bit lazy I tend to stay inside my comfort zone. I am starting to see that I can learn so much more than the knowledge framed by the curriculum, because of the challenges I get from attending this course.

 

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“Starry night” by Vincent van Gogh. 

 

There was one thing i class this week that make me think, and that transported me to this magical experience I had in Paris a couple of years ago. I went to Musèe d’Orsay, and I got to experience several of Vincent van Gogh’s works. His works are so beautiful, so I was really excited to finally get to see them in real life, and I as I said it was utterly magical. It also felt somewhat weird standing in front of this painting in a busy museum having this fantastic experience all in my head. This brings me to what pulled this memory back from storage, the question of the original vs the copy. In this era of digital art when pretty much everything can me copied and shared all over the world, what significance does the original hold? Do you have a different experience looking at the original than looking at a copy? My argument is yes, I had seen copies of van Gogh’s works numerous times before and admired them, but the experience of seeing the actual real life painting was incredible.

During class and as I read the first two chapters in Digital Art, I began wondering about this experience at the Musèe d’Orsay, and why seeing the original paintings was so much more powerful than a copy of it. I started wondering if the fact that I had seen these copies of van Gogh’s paintings and wanting to see the original influenced how I experienced the situation. Can copies in a way give something to the original works of art by giving more people a wish to experience the real thing, or will the magic of the original disappear?

 

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Self portrait by Vincent van Gogh