[-empyre-] mediation & videogames / the screen as a place of activity in the battlefield
cpr at mindspring.com
Wed Sep 9 06:50:53 EST 2009
Dear Menotti et all,
Many thanks for this post and reference to the Salon article. Given
the demographic markers of numerous participants on this list, it may
prove important to raise the issue of what some refer to as the
thickness of the screen of the military-entertainment-academic
complex. The thickness therein here may have reached the point of
opacity for some.
As such, I think it important to reference my experience (as a
professor) attempting to negotiate the dynamics of university
administrative efforts demanding that "visual art" and inter-
disciplinary students participate in scenarios which generated the
virtual landscapes and animated figures enveloping and inhabiting the
high production value of such illusionistic video gaming/military
training experiences. These representations increasingly approximate
photographic illusion and proffer the abstraction as real. It takes
video gaming tropes to new levels, to be certain.
Of course, in the states during the past 10 years or so art programs/
dept. were often under-funded - somewhat surprisingly. Hence, they
were (and still are) often susceptible to financial carrots and/or
access to the "equipment." One carrot that was often thrown my way
was a "partnering" with the well-funded military institutes already on
campus, i.e. the ICT which were instrumental in generating a good deal
of the military training applications to which this article refers.
This was often referred to as research opportunities for artists (CGI .)
In response to your crucial question re: suppression and abstracted.
We know - we feel it - and, arguably, perhaps we feel as if we have
little agency to effect any shift in this overwhelming dynamic...
despite holding (secure) positions which could certainly offer
critical questions and perhaps shifts in the current trajectory.
The coupling of military funding and the "advancement" of technology
is as ancient as the history of technology itself . But as we
witness the (virtual/screened) image rise to a position of supremacy
across and within the possible modes of communications, we need to
question what it is that we, as academics, are actually advancing
this very thickness within this increasingly corporate and government
financed research realm ... and advocate for some positive critical
insight that moves us beyond timid acceptance of one very narrow
bandwidth of technology's trajectories.
On Sep 7, 2009, at 1:19 AM, Gabriel Menotti wrote:
> Dear all:
> Since we are approaching the end of this first week, we should start
> pondering about the thickness of the screen from the other
> perspective: as referring not to the technical space that produces the
> image, but to the real space contained within it. In what measure the
> process of mediation is an abstraction of the world, as much as an
> abstraction of technologies?
> Of course, it is precisely in the balance between both aspects that
> the thickness of the screen shows its highest political implications.
> It seems to me that Jonathon Kirk illustrates this very well in his
> video 'I've Got a Guy Running', using graphic filters to create
> (further) distance from surveillance images (originally intended to
> get things closer - literally under scope).
> A recent article in salon.com also brings about the suble cultural
> dimension involved in adopting screens as places of activity /in the
> world/. In an (expected?) reversal of the old "videogames makes people
> violent" polemics, the military forces are using the apparently
> non-violent interface of hi-tech weaponry as an appeal to convince
> people to enlist. "Join the armed forces, the ads suggest, and you
> don't have to experience the blood-and-guts consequences of combat.
> Instead, you get to hang out stateside, entertaining yourself with a
> glorified PlayStation." 
> Baudrillard aside, what is exactly being abstracted (i.e. supressed)
> in all these situations?
>  http://www.salon.com/opinion/feature/2009/08/29/
>  http://www.ux1.eiu.edu/~jjkirk/running_excerpt2.mov
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
C h r i s t i a n e R o b b i n s
- J E T Z T Z E I T S T U D I O S -
... the space between zero and one ...
LOS ANGELES I SAN FRANCISCO
" The present age prefers the sign to the thing signified, the copy to
the original, fancy to reality,
the appearance to the essence
for in these days
illusion only is sacred, truth profane."
Ludwig Feuerbach, 1804-1872
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