[-empyre-] games as art or art as game

Julian Oliver julian at selectparks.net
Fri Mar 21 23:15:55 EST 2008

..on or around Fri, Mar 21, 2008 at 03:51:59PM +1100, Melanie Swalwell said:
> Hey Julian,
> >  to speak practically however, what shape would an termless, typeless
> >  archive take? how does one search a flat-file-system without meta-data?
> Yes, you're right about taxonomies and archives.  Clearly, I'm no archivist ;)
> Though I still reckon that articulating what's interesting about
> specific works of game art isn't helped all that much by taxonomies.

perhaps, but regardless, it helps you actually 'reach' them. it also
creates a starting point for discussion and curation. as i said in my
previous post, they are merely temporary, mutable indicators not binding

> But seeing as this came out of your post about an agreed set of
> categories/taxonomy being useful prior to overhauling the selectparks
> website, and people writing to ask you for more information on types
> of game art/specific works, and further to the discussion we had last
> year about selectparks' "link archive" function, and the problems with
> websites going down, etc...  I've been thinking since then about the
> idea of an online collection of game art video documentation: a
> collection to which artists could directly upload video documentation
> of their work, with the Internet Archive as a possible host.  Rather
> than ad hoc videos on google or youtube etc.
> Obviously viewing video is not the same as playing an interactive
> work...but that wouldn't be the point.
> As a researcher in this area, I think it would be a useful collection.
> What do others think?  Would such a collection be of value?

yes, this would be great, i would like to have a video archive of works
very much, we encourage artists to send us videos but they don't arrive
as often as we'd like..

to start with there are a few videogame artists that have written back
saying they oppose video documentation of a particular work, saying that
too much is mis-represented. 

games made for handhelds and phones sometimes need to be captured just
by filming the screen which often produces results that people are
reluctant to publish. then there are screen-free games
(positional/multichannel audio-only games), games that prioritise
tactile feedback alongwith games like /////Furminator that make filming
game-play very tricky. 

there are compromising solutions for all these cases of course (video
documentation is always a compromise).. but it's up to the artist as to
whether or not they think it's satisfactory.

then there is the unexpected difficulty of simply capturing video from a
screen-based game. believe it or not, it's trickier than you think,
requiring a computer with a TVout/SVideo port and a DV Camera (not a
luxury all have). the other option is the use of desktop screen video
capture. this software cannot currently capture video (and in many cases
sound at all) at over 20 frames-per-second, at or over 640x480, on
anything but the fastest computers. i think these issues comprise why
there are so few videos of artistic videogames. this, however, is
changing of course as computers become faster and more machines ship
with SVideo out ports..

a high-res video-upload option hosted on the our server, at least, would
work well if we can find cheap access to a few hundred gigabytes of fast
web-space.  i also feel pretty reluctant to host it all on youtube or even
vimeo as either of these sites may change their delivery model and or
corporate alliances. it does have to be fast and independent from the
main site; the 'Pirate Baby's Cabana Battle Street Fight 2006' video we
hosted had several hundred thousand downloads and took out the whole
webserver on several occassions. this would otherwise be fine if it
weren't for the fact 130 other people are hosted on the same server ;) 

you're right, archive.org is a very interesting third-party option,
coming with a built-in licensing interface, too.


julian oliver
messages containing HTML will not be read.

More information about the empyre mailing list