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.
So apparently – a Chinese or Taiwanese news agency has made this machinima film re-enacting the “said” incident by using The Sims! I’m not really clued into what the news has been saying about the accident or whatever. It doesn’t interest me – but it does interest me that someone – or not just anybody – a news channel! – has reenacted the events through the Sims.
Very intrigued! And the skills! Dude! They’ve really got their The Sims skills down to make this!
I was honored to be asked to give a little presentation on Machinima at Scott Rettberg’s “The Network as a Space and Medium for Collaborative Interdisciplinary Art Practice”. I had a great time and met some truly fantastic and inspirational people! I was squeezed in to the topic of Anthropophagy, which I’m still trying to figure out – but will write more about in another blogpost. My initial thought is Machinima is anthropophagic (not sure I can say that – but what the hell – I’ll give it a go) of game narrative – which opens up a whole box of interest worms. But … it’s not a cannibalistic media in itself. But…yeah… we’ll leave room for that somewhere else.
My presentation is available on Google Docs but I’ll cut and paste it here – as the notes are more important than the actual slides (although you can find them by opening the speaker notes).
GAMEPLAYING FOR THE ARTS
When gaming avatars perform for the camera, not for the game
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 trying to figure out a really catchy great name for the upcoming Machinima Night at Landmark 22. October. This is what I’ve come up with – MachinimUP or MachiniMIX – but to be perfectly honest – I feel that’s just a foolish way of hyping it all up. Why not continue to be perfectly honest, frank and to the point with Machinima Night III?
I’m officially on vacation and I’m unofficially trying to get my head focused on upcoming projects and dreams this fall so I can dive straight into them when I come home. My day job will be requiring quite a lot of attention – so I must have a few things straight soon.
I’ve been hassling IT-journalists about getting involved with Ada Lovelace Day and now I’m sitting here on the day – completely rushed on my own contribution! Just goes to show – hassling people is a tricky thing to pull off respectfully
So, in the spirit of Ada Lovelace Day, I would like to focus on Tracy Harwood.
We were so lucky this fall to have her visit Landmark in our humble city of Bergen, Norway for a lecture on Machinima. It was a pleasure to have her here and she inspired me (and dare I say, my mom) to keep living my life as colourful as possible.
Tracy Harwood is today a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Creative Technologies at De Montfort University. She’s a professional marketer and has a PhD in negotion of buyer-seller relationships.
I’ve often thought about machinima as fan art – but I’ve never felt completely comfortable with it. I’ve always felt like machinima in itself – was an artform in it’s own right. But then there are such lucious films like this. Which clearly is fan based, but a voyeuristic delight none the less!
Speaking of fan art – I’ve started a little theory about why we’re not talking enough about this in Norway. We have no word for “fan” – seriously – if you can think of something do tell me – but I don’t think we have a word for ‘fan’. We have supporter – which is generally considered to be football fans. But it’s not even that – a football fan is a supporter, although I’m not sure that a WoW machinimator is a supporter of Blizzard. It’s baffled me for a while now and there’s definitely a cultural significance in being wordless on the subject. It’s interesting – and just a thought to share.
Yup! We’ll be going at it again. I was so pleased with the turn-out last year and I hope it will be just as succesful this year!
On the 13th of November, Tracy Harwood, the manager of the European Machinima Festival 2007 will be visiting us here in Bergen to talk about machinima. There’s still some organising left. But she definitely is coming and we’re really pleased about that! It will be great to have an expert to listen to!
There will of course be viewings of films. If anyone has anything new they want to show – please let me know!
Anyways…November 13th! We look forward to seeing you there!
I’ve been so back and forth about how to organise this event that I’ve completely lost track! Time to bunker down, I think. I was fiddling with the idea of creating a work shop type event – but I think I’ve let that idea go into the “when I have the energy to be overly ambitious” file.
I leave you now with some documentary footage of the machinamite! Enjoy!