Monday, November 30, 2009

electronic book reviewtext Towards a Game Theory of Game Celia Pearce

Introduction: Why Game Theory

In mapping the trajectory of popular media, we can see a clear corollary between theory and practice. Literature, film, even popular music all began to a certain extent as "folk" genres that, once their cultural relevance had been proven lasting, caught the attention of theorists and entered into academic discourse.

Such a cycle is currently underway vis-à-vis computer games. This medium is still erroneously considered to be in its "infancy." (In fact, it is just coming of legal drinking age in some states.) The evolution of a body of theory on computer games is an exciting prospect. As with other media, it promises to broaden and deepen the discourse of the medium (we can start talking about something beyond violence, for example). In addition, if history is any indicator, it will also have a positive influence on the practice of creating games, just as the development of film theory in the sixties and seventies did on film craft. It is ironic that academia, the birthplace of games, has mostly shunned them until recently. It is also quite appropriate that MIT, where the first computer game -- SpaceWar -- was created as an independent hack by computer science Ph.D. students, was one of the first places to embrace game design and game culture as a subject of academic study. Here I will invoke MIT's own Henry Jenkins, who stated in his January 2001 presentation at "Entertainment in the Interactive Age," at the University of Southern California, that the most significant evolutionary leap in the film craft occurred when people started writing about it. click link for more

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Speaking Piano

Similar to the voice font, or synthesized voice, we've all come to know and love, this is a step backwards. Rather than converting speech into digital information, this piano simulates the human voice in analog.

Speaking Piano

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I couldn't figure out how to put on this youtube video, but check it out. Just search for
Project Natal : Meet Milo

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


In his essay ‘Animation as Baroque: Fleischer Morphs Harlem; Tangos to Crocodiles’ (in ‘The Vatican to Vegas: A History of Soecial Effects’, and also part of the excellent reader ‘The Sharpest Point Animation at the End of Cinema’, edited by Chris Gehman and Steve Reinke) Norman M. Klein argues that one the governing concepts of animation is “the morph,” the theatrical rupture of the stable image in the transformation of a thing into something else. For Klein, it is a space of entropy within a cartoon itself-an actual “lapse” of scribbles between two more fixed images. The “morph” is a metaphoric, frequently haunted “hesitation” that embodies all our anxieties about the world around us, and it is shorthand for the entire medium’s proclivity for constant metamorphosis.

“the Morph is solid and absent at the same time. It is like a scar that narrates, a braile of absences. The viewer can practically run a finger across the ridge of hesitation, very haptic, a touch of all-at-once. the drawings leave a elegant wound as they dissolve to make way for motion.
the Morph is also a history of production itself, like many special-effects films: a history of the drawing in decay or erasure; or even of the team who made the effects. In thirties animation, the original drawing was cleaned up, then traced by inkers on to another medium: inked and painted on a cel. In the nineties, it is scanned digitally, then paint-boxed, a morph of production itself, with far fewer strings, often fewer hesitations.
Also, the morph should suggest an uneasy alliance inside the character’s body and inside the atmospheres at the same time. Like Dr. Jekyll nervously grabbing his throat, both the space and the body should look as if they might revert back, as if the air is dangerous. The morph is supposed to look unstable, in hesitation, on a journey into antimatter, where many atmospheres meet”.

Here are some wonderful examples of Morphing in the “Electronic Baroque” era

Robert Arnold: ‘The Morphology of Desire’ (1998)
‘The Morphology of Desire’ is an ongoing project which explores the commodity representation of gender and desire in popular culture, and the relationship between the still image and illusion of cinematic motion, using digital morphing to animate romance novel cover illustrations as a never-ending dance of unrealized desire. Robert Arnold: “My work explores language as object and communication by sampling text from everyday sources like movie trailers, book covers and advertising slogans, and remixing it to create ‘poems’ which address the original material in some way, often with humorous results. I work with video, digital processes and drawing.”

Ronnie Cramer, ‘Pillow Girl’ (2006)
‘Pillow Girl’ was originally a sound-art work. Artist/musician/filmmaker Ronnie Cramer scanned the covers and inside pages of a number of lurid, vintage paperbacks and magazines, then ran the collected image and text data through a variety of synthesizers. The resulting sound files were then processed and remixed into a collection of electronic soundscapes. The visual portion of the piece makes use of the covers themselves, with the illustrated figures coming to life and morphing into one another during the course of the presentation (each cover is visible in its original state for only 1/30th of a second). In addition to being a colorful and impressive visual display, the images presented in ‘Pillow Girl’ are a vivid and fascinating historical encapsulation of how women have been depicted in popular culture.