Machinima: Evolution and Artistic License in Computer Game Art

Symposium:


Session Title:

  • Notes on the History and Politics of Gameplay

Presentation Title:

  • Machinima: Evolution and Artistic License in Computer Game Art

Presenter(s):



Abstract:

  • Combining film techniques, computer animation, and using real-time 3D game engines – the digital art of Machinima – realizes narrations and installations in completely virtual sets. The increasing convergence of the computer game and film industries signals a process of change within digital image and media worlds that has far-reaching consequences for production methods and copyright in both areas.

    Discussing these developments, the talk is about the origins and development of Machinima, a movement that began in the mid 1990s, and seeks to locate traces of its invention and innovation. It describes the invention of this movement as an unintended result of user interaction with computer game technology, which stands as an early example for our, nowadays encompassing, participative media culture. Out of the intention to share experiences from computer games with their community and enabled by the technology of computer game engines, the gamers became producers of new visual content and therefore inventors of a new art technique.

    As the invention alone is not decisive for the form of its application or for whether a new media technique will continue to exist, in the second part I will discuss the prototype’s innovation which ultimately shows an independent art form offering increasing competition to traditional computer animation.

    Machinima’s strong association with linear narration and aesthetics of film can be criticized from an artistic perspective since the technology of computer game engines offers interactive potential as never before. However under the perspective of media evolution remediation appears essential for achieving cultural and social acceptance which is required for an economical and legal frame that matches the new art technique. New art forms like Machinima are not purely product of their technical pre-conditions and artistic will, but in the same way dependent of their potential of meeting with prevailing, historical grown, established and learned conventions of seeing and media competences.

    The talk shows how the digital art of Machinima guides to social and cultural change and offers a theoretical approach to media evolution which shall be discussed at the conference.

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