[-empyre-] gallery model & games -> multi-perspectival / cultural hegemony of space

simon +,

oh yeah, i forgot to mention my personal thoughts on the gallery model,
and also games.

as far as i'm concerned, as an artist trying survive in the u.s. of a.,
the gallery model for me is the *most* liberating. with the scandalous
dearth of funding opportunities for the arts here, gallery sales
constitute a considerable portion of my meager annual income. my
gallery, perhaps rare, lets me do pretty much anything i want,
regardless of its sales potential (i'm working on a giant model train
layout for christ sake).

when applying for public grants and commissions, i'm under far greater
restrictions. first there's the technical restrictions, when web based,
it has to be x-plat etc.. then there is the content restrictions. twice
i've been asked to submit proposals to the MTA for subway station
commissions. like i could ever come up with something appropriate for a
subway station? also, so many grants in the u.s. require some public
outreach approach, "for the children" or "addressing this theme" or
"dealing with gender" or "dealing with race." what is poor white boy
artist gonna do? why are there so few grants that simply state "do what
ever the fuck you want." in the public realm i'm constantly forced to
bend over backward, shoehorn my work to fit an a-priori requirement.

granted, in the gallery context one needs to consider "salability" but i
actually very much enjoy thinking in those terms regarding this medium.
i often address the salability as a conceptual framework (see "go" and
"earth" and "discrete terrains"). the aspect of salability is in many
ways criticized in these works, and yet they remain and have proven to
be, sellable.

the biggest grant i ever got was for "terrain machine,"  which i'm in
the process of testing as we speak. though i'm quite fond of the piece,
if i had been given the cash to do "what ever the fuck i want" it prolly
wouldn't have been "terrain machine."  i came up with a proposal for
something i thought might have a snowball's chance in hell of winning,
and as it turned out, it was a very robust snowball. like i said, i'm
playing with model trains for my gallery.

okay, on to games, one of my favorite subjects.  

simon wrote:

> I hate the things - a noisy and adolescent
> waste of time.

hmm, that's pretty arrogant, but i'll overlook it. i feel games are
central to a discussion of new media art in general, and 3d art
specifically, for a great many reasons. games represent firstly, the
highest level of technical sophistication within this medium. us
artists, like it or not, are constantly compared to the gaming industry
and its standards. anyone with a lick of sense realizes that the
comparison is tenuous at best, as if independent film is somehow
inferior because it does not have the same production values as the
hollywood product. however, when a work of digital art, or independent
film, comes close to those standards, it is noticed and appreciated.

secondly, there are the navigation and interaction paradigms that games
introduce. every so often a game changes the expected devices of
navigation, in service to its play. i think of quake for example. to the
best of my knowledge, the quake mouse function that now is fairly
defacto for FPS's, was first introduced in that game. i have written for
myself a .dll to handle mouse navigation, called it "quakemouse.dll,"
and it has become the general navigation device for most of my first
person environments. it happens to be a very useful and fluid paradigm.
thank you, quake.

thirdly, there are the AI and behavioral algorithms advanced and
developed by the gaming industry that seem to crop up in artwork all the
time. these are very exciting concepts to me and a great many other
artists. they represent a "soul of the machine." behaviors + 3d space =
reality, for me.

fourth, just the thought that these machines can indeed be employed
simply as a "waste of time" as you put it, i like to think of it as
simply being "without specific function or utility," establishes a
certain criteria for art in the first place. if the general
understanding was such that a computer's sole purpose is for getting
useful work done, there would be no possible hope that the computer
could ever be perceived of as an artistic medium.

fifth, very occasionally, some darn good narrative unfolds within a game
world. narrative is, or can be, art.

and finally, tying a bunch of these thoughts together, what thrills me
about the medium, and about games as its commercial manifestation, is
this notion of a whole, real, and cohesive universe, existing entirely
within all those transistors and chips, playing by its rules and laws,
coming into being entirely through a descriptive language - in some
cases reflecting the rules and laws of our universe, and in some cases
turning them on their head.

don't belittle the accomplishments of the gaming industry.


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