March 11, 2005

Ring the Belle, Win a Prize

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 1:09 am

Video games based on the poetry of Emily Dickinson. Well, video game concepts and designs, anyway, by Clint Hocking, Peter Molyneux, and Will Wright.

March 10, 2005

David Byrne’s New Medium: Powerpoint

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 8:50 pm

Talking Head David Byrne is going around the country giving lectures on his artistic practice using Microsoft Powerpoint:

I have been working with PowerPoint, the ubiquitous presentation software, as an art medium for a number of years. It started off as a joke (this software is a symbol of corporate salesmanship, or lack thereof) but then the work took on a life of its own as I realized I could create pieces that were moving, despite the limitations of the “medium.” I have shown these pieces in galleries and museums and most recently have produced a book with a DVD (Envisioning Emotional Epistemological Information) as means of presenting these curiosities.)

Exit Kasparov, But Kings May Yet Fall

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 8:35 pm

Gary Kasparov, the strongest chess player in the world, champion from 1985-2000, the highest rated player in history, and the one behind the excellent PC chess player/tutor Kasparov’s Gambit, won the Linares Super Chess tournament today despite losing his last game to Veselin Topalov of Bulgaria. Kasparov, age 41, announced that he is retiring from competitive chess.

Kasparov is also the head of Committee 2008: Free Choice, a group that aims to unseat Vladimir Putin as president of Russia.

Institute for the Future of the Book

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 2:55 pm

It looks like Bob Stein has been busy. The founder of the late 80s/early 90s CD-ROM publisher Voyager, he’s moved from Nightkitchen, the e-book development platform his team developed from the mid 90s until earlier in this decade, to The Institute for the Future of the Book, which was founded last year. It looks like many aspects of Nightkitchen will be preserved within the Institute, but moved from a for-profit to a not-for-profit framework. The Institute for the Future of Book has secured generous funding from the Mellon Foundation (a $1.3 million grant), the MacArthur Foundation, and its colocated host institutions, The Annnenberg Center for Communication at the University of Southern California and Columbia University. The mission described on the Institute’s site is “is to play an important role in developing the form and function of books in the digital era.” The Institute will develop tools, including TK4, a new, open source version of expanded book software, will host two symposia next year, and also hosts a pretty cool blog. I notice that Kim White, the author of The Minotaur Project, which was one of the works shortlisted for the 2001 Electronic Literature Award, is one of the Institute for the Future of the Book’s six staff members. This should be an organization worth watching.

First Person Beyond Chat

As the seasons change, there’s a new section of First Person live at electronic book review. The essays in this section (Beyond Chat) are by theorist/practitioners who create projects that seek to intervene in our understanding of communication via digital media. The contents include:

In addition, a couple reviews have come to my attention recently. First, an article called “Your Fall Bookshelf: Must-Reads for Industry Pros” (Electronic Gaming Business) contains sentences about First Person such as: “At the top of the must-read list this season is a genuine discussion among industry pros and academics about key issues in game design and interactive storytelling.” Second, a review in Leonardo Digital Reviews by Maia Engeli says, “First Person is a rich and inspiring book.”

March 8, 2005

Google Mapping Location-Based Narratives

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 11:52 am

walkingtourMy colleague Ken Tompkins recently sent along a link to John Udell’s Walking Tour of Keene. The short video demonstrates how Udell used Google Maps in concert with a bookmarklet to create a walking tour of an area in his hometown that rides on top of the Google Maps UI. Waypoints are marked with GPS data on the Google map and then linked to his content (jpgs and quicktime clips). Udell explains how he did it in a followup post. Other hacks to Google Maps are being posted on a Google Maps Hacking Wiki. Although the current hack is kludgey, it suggests exciting possiblities for location-based narratives that could be delivered in a web browser via the Google Maps interface.

Seriously Fun

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 11:24 am

Wonderland has blogged two talks from yesterday’s day 1 of the Serious Games Summit at GDC: Raph Koster on fun and Cory Ondrejka on Second Life. Good stuff.

March 7, 2005

‘I Am Both Art and Artist’

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 10:58 am

It’s perhaps not the most high-tech painter AI out there, nor is it quite an AI-assisted content creator as I would envision one, and its “I am an artist” claim is a stretch, but Daria has created a few canvases I found interesting. Reminiscent of Gnoetry, but probably technically simpler, the “distributed system of server components that collectively combine to become an autonomous creative unit” Daria takes your keyword or words, searches the Web or some custom database of related text and imagery (I’m not sure which), parses its found text and selects some of it, selects and filters some part or parts of images, and then composites the text and image fragments into a final picture.

March 5, 2005

Project Research and Software Toys

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 11:46 am

Exocog: A case study of a new genre in story
A research report by Jim Miller describing the process of writing and distributing a story on the Internet not as narrative text, but as a set of Web sites whose content evolved over five weeks.

Situationist International Online
I’ve spent some good hours here recently. The situationists were anticopyright from the beginning, which has made this quite extensive archive of texts from the situationist movement which reached its height in the 1960s possible, including a complete archive of Internationale Situationniste and Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle.

March 4, 2005

Become a Micropatron

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 10:17 pm

Designer extraordinaire and long-time blogger Jason Kottke has taken the plunge and quit his day job, to blog full-time. Referring to that excellent comics issue of McSweeney’s, that I too greatly enjoyed, Kottke writes,

Chris Ware notes that “in the past decade or so, comics appear to have gained some greater measure of respect, due in no small part to the number of cartoonists who have begun to take the medium seriously”. This is me taking online personal publishing seriously because I feel it deserves as much.

Alright! … but, um… how’s he going to pay his rent?

Tabletop “Playable Fictions”

I’m in the process of curating a show for ACMI, the Australian Center for the Moving Image. The show’s title will be “Playable Fictions” and it strikes me that the GTxA audience would be a great one to ask for feedback on my in-process plans. I’d be happy to hear — via comments or trackbacks — suggestions for particular pieces, categories of work, or exhibition strategies.

ACMI is a relatively new and large museum in Melbourne which, in addition to traditional exhibition spaces, includes theatres, screening rooms, and production facilities. They were one of the partners for DAC 2003, and since that time they’ve opened a number of additional spaces, which will soon include an area designed for the display of games and other software (where my show will be focused). So far they seem very open to ideas, such as having a DVD in the catalog (for accommodating software and digital video), as well as including some work that goes beyond the borders of the exhibition space.

New Games Journalism

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 12:55 pm

A quick link to throw out there: working off of an essay written about a year by Kieron Gillen ago calling for a New Games Journalism, described by the Guardian as “a highly subjective approach to videogame writing in which the player’s own experiences within the game environment are brought to the fore”, the Guardian has compiled a top ten list of noteworthy examples. (via gamegirladvance)

March 2, 2005

New Media/History of Rock and Roll

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 12:07 pm

I’m violating our policy of generally not posting job listings simply for shits and giggles. St. Cloud University is hiring an Assistant Professor of New Media/History of Rock and Roll:

St. Cloud State University seeks applications for New Media/History of Rock and Roll, Assistant Professor, tenure track position to begin August 29, 2005. Salary commensurate with experience and qualifications.

March 1, 2005

Aarseth and Jenkins on Games

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 4:59 pm

Espen and Henry at HUMlab I guess I should call it “Aarseth vs. Jenkins.” Henry Jenkins and Espen Aarseth recently debated game studies (streaming Real video), although I’d say it was somewhere in between a debate and a love fest – a good discussion, certainly. This was hosted at the HUMlab (Umeå University, Sweden) back on January 18. I’m a bit late in noting this, but it’s well worth watching this soon, in case link rot and the cost of streaming video hosting cause the video to drop offline. The topics range from the relationship between story and game to the relationship between developers and academics, with discussion of the institutional situation of game studies programs as well. Henry has some great comments about spatial story and the relationship of games to other narrative-evoking environments; Espen’s discussion of the need for a diversity of approaches – not just “narratology” and “ludology” – is also quite good to hear. Espen even explains how game studies should take literary studies as a model! You’ll have to watch the video yourself to find out what the context is for this suggestion – it’s about 49 minutes in.

Ma-ia-hii, Ma-ia-huu, Ma-ia-hoo, Ma-ia-haha

from Grand Text Auto
by @ 1:34 am

Numa Numa Dance Striking a blow for chair dancing and Romanian techno, Gary Brolsma’s Numa Numa Dance (recently written up in the New York Times) already seems to have eclipsed the fame of the Star Wars Kid, Badger Badger Badger, and their contemporary kin, and now seems poised to challenge that uncanny boss monster of moving pictures on the Web: The Dancing Baby.

The Times and other parties are puzzled about the popularity of this video, done by someone with (as The New York Daily News puts it) “the lip-synching talent of Ashlee Simpson and the physique of the Pillsbury Doughboy.” Why is this Flash file so compelling? Brolsma himself seems to have no idea, and commentators have done little more than note that it is amusing, makes for a convenient distraction, and is set to a catchy song.

Let us briefly consider the sublime qualities of Numa Numa Dance and its relevance to our cultural moment.

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