Let me first start off by saying that I love my job and I think I’ll be able to share my experiences there in the upcoming
This is me cupping at my job at a coffee roaster here in Bergen.
year. I haven’t decided if I’ll start a new blog or continue writing here, though. I like this space for all my “other” activities. But there are few of them and I suspect there’ll be fewer still. One of my main goals for the rest of the year is to do a little analysis of how I see my education being put to good use. I keep noticing skills I learned from Media Studies and I’m thankful for having them. I really do feel like I have the right skills to do this job well – and that’s reassuring. I want to spread the confidence to other media students, you know? Because there is little understanding of what Media Studies skills can be used in jobs and the corporate world – but I see myself using these skills all the time.
I cannot touch on the topic of Machinima without mentioning the music videos. It’s a storytelling format which the MTV-generation understands so well and they’re able to use their literacy of music videos to create their own. It’s a wonderful way to be a fan of both the games and the music. I have a soft spot for the music Machinima that doesn’t have a glossy feel – but rather amateur love.
I showed two very old music Machinima films. The first one is from a very well known machinima artist, who I’m sure wishes that I showed some of his newer stuff. B. Kiddo has been creating machinima for years and his artful skills in The Sims and Second Life are just awesome. But this Machinima film is one of the first I ever saw. I was so touhed by it. Although it isn’t smoothly made – it’s very emotional. I showed this to a girl friend of mine who thinks I’m totally weird for being interested in this stuff and would rather I focus my attention on finding a man and go shopping – and she welled up. Which of course gave me immense satisfaction!
The other music Machinima I played is actually Chinese and made Everquest. I stumbled upon it by chance. It is very simple – but the song is just so catchy I can’t help but love it! I’m told the song was a number one hit in China about 10 years ago (thanks KML) and I can understand why. I find myself humming the song several times a day and I enjoy simplisity of the Machinima film.
So the whole point with organising these Machinima evenings is to create a space for people to relax, share a beer and be introduced to what’s going on in the world of Machinima. There’s people who know what we’re on about and there’s people who are just fascinated by the medium and of course, those who are interested in New Media. I try to give an overview of what machinima is, but the more I learn about it – the more I realise that I’m just barely scratching the surface. So this year I decided to toss out objectivity and completely focus on what I wanted to focus on. I completely choked up, though. Suddenly I realised I had a microphone in my hand and people were listening to what I had to say – I haven’t talked publicly in a long long time! Definitely needed the practice. Luckily I’ve been giving a few lectures and presentations with work lately – so I’m starting to get it down again. So anyways – I’m going to squeeze in what I meant to say inbetween talking about the program of the evening. If you don’t recognise some of it – this is why.
So nuff said!
Machinima stands for machine + cinema + animation. If you think it doesn’t add up with the spelling, blame Hugh Hancock who created http://www.machinima.com. There’s also a story about a pub, a few beers and a cocktail napkin. But in essence it’s machinima stands for machine + cinema + animation. It was the intention to focus the evening on the “machine”-part. What fascinates me with machinima is how the artists are communicating with a machine or an artificial intelligence to create their own narrative or story. The machine I’m talking about is the computer game where the film is made. If a machinima film is made in World of Warcraft, the artist will have to communicate with the game and understand the game mechanics in order to tell their story.
I’m not a big fan of the notion that machinima will replace the art of animation. Machinima is something completely different, in my opinion. Like Henry Lowood says:
“It is important to recall that the origins of machinima lie not in content production, but in gameplay” (Lowood, 2006 in Video Games and Art)
It is something that has evolved from high-performance gameplay to brilliant meaningful content, but the essence is still gameplay. The ability to master a game so well that you can bend it and form it into your own mold of content, your own story, your own expression.
Dr. Lowood again:
“Depicting machinima as high-performance play stems from its emergence from inter-relationships of play, spectatorship, technical virtuosity and storytelling in computer games. Each of these factors played a role in defining the practices of machinima as practices of game performance.”(Lowood, 2006, Video Games and Art)
So how should we go about deconstructed machinima, finding it’s meaning, it’s aura – it’s true art?
Keep a look out for Jill Walker Rettberg and Hilde Corneliussen‘s Digital Culture, Play and Identity. A World of Warcraft Reader which is now available for pre-order at amazon. The table of contents looks snazy, tasty and delicious. It’s a book I’ll definitely be reading no matter what I’m doing in my life at point of release. I can’t tell you what a thrill it is to have two women like Hilde and Jill at the university. I keep kicking myself, though, for staying the media studies path instead of joining the Humanities. Oh well – such is life. Either way, they’ve been such an inspirational source for me the last couple of years – and I’ve never even had them as a lecturer for any class! Jill’s publications can be found here and Hilde’shere. Seriously, though, whenever I was going mad with the complications of thinking about virtuality, their writings always made me see a light at the end of the tunnel. This promises to be an excellent book. Contributers include: Scott Rettberg, Lisbeth Klastrup, T.L. Taylor, Ragnhild Tronstad, Tanya Krzywinska, Espen Aarseth – and more!
We never really had the opportunity to run through the whole program before the machinima night (my fault because I have to work during the day) – so I spontaneously cut 2 films from the program.
I already knew that we had too many films and that I would have to limit my time on the microphone. I wanted the films to speak for themselves – but then again – I have so much to say about these films. But in the end I was glad – because it turns out that I still get nervous with a microphone and specially when the room is filled with sceptics and people I admire so incredibly much. But I’ll get into that more later.
There was just too much, so I had to cut
Tristan Pope’s ‘Not Just Another Love Story’
This one hurt me the most. Because I was talking to some folks after who started discussing why there weren’t any political machinima – and this was my example of that – but oh well! Another time.
I can’t just save everything for the event! I instantly fell for it. Such a charming story, a little bit of real life in there – and a great johnny cashish song! I love it when the producers/directors make their own music! Anyways – enjoy!
Does anyone have a really cool WoW dashboard picture they wouldn’t mind me using for an article (that I’m not sure is EVER going to be published) in the local Bergen press?
I’m really looking for a dashboard so advanced that you hardly see what’s happening in-world. One of those where there’s so much information the interface becomes 2 dimensional instead of 3. I’m kinda trying to prove the point that there’s a lot of information management that goes into playing WoW.