[ISEA2022] Paper: Chris Kerich — Perlin noise and sovereign land: Minecraft’s world generation algorithm and colonialism


Short paper. Remote presentation, date: June 10

A short paper focusing on the connection between Minecraft’s world generation algorithm and colonial thought

This paper explores the connection between procedural generation technologies, specifically those used in world generation in 2011’s Minecraft, and colonialism. Specifically, it examines the ways that the Perlin noise generation algorithm generates a world that exists specifically for the player’s extraction of resources, and provides control mechanisms so that the world is never too wild or untameable. The paper concludes with reflection on some methods by which these colonial ideas might be subverted in games that use procedural generation technology.

For the video recording of the presentation see: Amalia Creus — Technology and creative processes in a changing environment

  • Chris Kerich is an artist and academic based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. His work focuses on the politics and ideology embedded in game systems. His artwork has shown at venues such as Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria and the Milan Machinima Festival in Milan, Italy. He is currently completing his PhD dissertation titled “Game Infrastructures” at the University of California, Santa Cruz. http://www.ckerich.com