[ISEA2011] Panel: Is­abelle Arvers – Ma­chin­ima as a Po­lit­i­cal or Artis­tic De­tourne­ment of Video Games

Panel Statement

Panel: Voicing Electronic Arts

This paper pre­sents Ma­chin­ima as a po­lit­i­cal or artis­tic de­tourne­ment of video games. By using vir­tual spaces and chang­ing per­spec­tive as an artis­tic strat­egy, ma­chin­ima allow a dis­tanced cri­tique of a sim­u­lated world. They tend to erase the bound­aries be­tween re­al­ity and fic­tion and re­de­fine the trans­gres­sive power of the game. As Guy De­bord states in The So­ci­ety of the Spec­ta­cle, “There, where the real world is chang­ing into sim­ple im­ages, sim­ple im­ages be­come real human be­ings and ef­fi­cient mo­ti­va­tions for an hyp­notic be­hav­ior.” Ma­chin­ima re-ac­tu­al­ize the Sit­u­a­tion­ist con­cep­tion of cin­ema in which voices in di­alogs, or in­ter­views, or voice over and im­ages, act as dif­fer­ent lay­ers of con­tent. In the purest hack­ing tra­di­tion, ma­chin­ima can be per­ceived as a «de­tourne­ment» or a di­ver­sion of mass media to be­come a means of ex­pres­sion, po­lit­i­cal or artis­tic… Ma­chin­ima rep­re­sents the par­tic­u­lar mo­ment when gamers begin to pro­duce con­tent and where games be­come tools of ex­pres­sion. These movies are mostly nar­ra­tive, but they can also be ex­per­i­men­tal, artis­tic, or re­lated to music, doc­u­men­taries, ads, and fea­ture films. They can be seen as a new way of rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the dig­i­tal age, along with 3D an­i­ma­tion, dig­i­tal cin­ema, or video. Ma­chin­ima has a huge po­ten­tial be­cause it uses mass con­sump­tion ob­jects that are games, to help peo­ple self-ex­press. A re­cent French study showed that 99.8 % of teenagers play video games daily. There­fore, it can be said that games sur­round our every­day life. This is the rea­son why it is mean­ing­ful to dif­fuse a cin­e­mato­graphic genre using games and open source tools, to make movies and art­works, en­abling and am­pli­fy­ing other ways for peo­ple to ex­press them­selves.

  • Is­abelle Arvers is a french new media cu­ra­tor, critic and au­thor, spe­cial­iz­ing in video and com­puter games, web an­i­ma­tion and dig­i­tal cin­ema. She has co­or­di­nated ISEA 2000, Paris, and she has cu­rated Video Cuts 2001, Cen­tre Pom­pi­dou, Gam­ing Room Vil­lette Nu­merique 2002, Paris, and Tour of the Web 2003, Cen­tre Pom­pi­dou, fea­tur­ing French and in­ter­na­tional artists. In 2004, she or­ga­nized a Game­boy music con­cert and she has cu­rated the wire­less art event Wifilede­france for la Re­gion Ile de France. She was the net.art cu­ra­tor for the 2004 Ba­nana RAM fes­ti­val, Italy. She cu­rated the ex­hibit Ga­me­time, Ex­per­i­me­dia, Mel­bourne in Oc­to­ber 2004 and la Nuit Nu­merique for the 2004 Bit­films Fes­ti­val, Ham­bourg, Ger­many, No­vem­ber 2004. Her lat­est pro­jects are: No fun games and the gam­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, Bergen Nor­way, 2005; Mal au Pixel, Paris, France, 2006; Ar­tic­ule 3, emerg­ing swiss cre­ation, An­necy, France, 2007; Play­ing to real, Meudon, France, 2007, Gamerz 04 and Gamerz 05 and Gamerz6, Aix-en-Provence, 2008 & 2009, Ma­chin­ima screen­ings, Game­play & Mostravideo Brasil, 2009. isabellearvers.com   youtube.com/user/zabarvers

Full text (PDF) p. 130-135