Tuesday, August 21

Viola makes the journey from art to videogames

Video artist Bill Viola, together with a team from the University of Southern California's Interactive Division, have just released "Night Journey", an interactive game "based on the universal story of an individual mystic’s journey towards enlightenment". The game plays out like a protagonist wandering through a filmic wasteland, interactivity limited to moving in any direction, or simply to "reflect". The latter seems to trigger video snippets from Viola's earlier work. Aesthetically the game strays away from the pastel colours and hard polygon edges dominant in the genre, opting instead for a dreamy, blurred black and white approach which allows video treated in the same way to be incorporated seamlessly.

Art videogames, or videogames as art, is a concept that is slowly growing. New Zealand born artist Julian Oliver established Select Parks in 1998, an attempt to provide a hub for the grey space between the two mediums. The site features categories like art, political and social games, with some innovative standouts. Float around a garden as pollen in the zen-like Pollen Sonata, gather clouds together in Cloud, or play Oliver's own mindbending take on the FPS genre, Second Person Shooter.

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