Monthly Archives: February 2011

Shooting the virtual world

Robert Overweg is a photographer in the virtual world who explores the fading border between the virtual and physical. He photographs the virtual the same way as he is doing in the real world. Scenes captured, in games, are atmospheric, mesmerising and beautiful. Mostly abandoned levels, he captures elegance we tend to pass by when playing games. Where game designers intentionally elevate certain moments in the games by introducing special effects, Robert captures the beauty in the blanks, glitches and the left overs and the digitally abandoned.

By taking the photographs out of their context of the virtual world and blowing them up in a size of 144cm by 81cm (or larger) the typical aesthetics of games are laid bare. At first glance the photograph seems to represent the physical world really well. After further inspection you might see the identical air conditioners on the roof both have the exact same rust and scratch marks, the brick pattern on the wall on the right has non fitting patterns. The most obvious example is the two colliding roads whom are pasted together.

His latest projects, The End of the virtual world, Glitches, and more. Check them out

A Philosophy of Computer Art

A Philosophy of Computer Art is a text that covers the intersection of computing and art, discussing some of the classics of interactive art, and doing a lot of thinking about what art that uses computers actually is. In it Dominic Lopes does several things very well: it divides what he calls “digital art” from “computer art”, and it correlates that second term, Computer Art, with interactivity. He also articulates precise arguments for computer art as a new and valid form of art and defends his new term against some of its more tiresome attacks. As a quick example, Paul Virillios concerns about the debilitating effect of “virtual reality” on thought which is more than a little reminiscent of Socratic concerns about the debilitating effect of writing on thought and points to an interesting conclusion: what we call thought is a technologically enhanced phenomena. Note Friedrich Kittler: most human capacities are enhanced in some way or another with no great damage to the notion of “humanity” or “human”. It’s little more than a failure of imagination to thunder about how those augmentations debilitate the natural state of humans. Lopes also makes several extremely astute observations about the nature of interactivity and repeatability, comparing Rodins Thinker, Schuberts “The Erlking”, packs of refrigerator magnet letters, and true interactivity in artwork and concluding that interactive work has distinct characteristics. What he comes to, or what I read him as coming to, is this: a structured and rule based experience is interactive. “A good theory of interaction in art speaks of prescribed user actions. The surface of a painting is altered if it’s knifed, but paintings don’t prescribe that they be vandalized.” Reduced even further: grammar plus entities plus aesthetics equals interactivity. He also makes, to pick just a few, excellent arguments for the interpretive necessity of a view in automated displays, astute observations about the potential value of a computer art criticism, and for the nature of technology as a medium.

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Organic Electronics

In Germany, companies such as BASF, Merck, Heidelberg, SAP and the Innovation Lab are working on innovations that have the potential to revolutionize our daily lifes – Organic LEDs consuming 50 % less energy than energy saving lamps, thin, transparent solar-cell sheets and organic RFID-labels printed on every fresh product in the supermarket. A glimpse behind the scenes of science.

Darkgame

Darkgame is a sensory deprivation computer game by Eddo Stern currently in development. The game plays on physical manipulation of the player’s senses as the central focus of game strategy. The immersive gameplay is based upon the experience of communication and conflict under stress of sensory deprivation and sense isolation. During the game you are equipped with custom made head gear, applying different sensations to your head as you are navigating the virtual world interacting with other players over the internet.