I'm happy to announce the release of my new book, Machinima, dal videogioco alla videoarte [Machinima. From video game to video art]. Published by Mimesis Edizioni in the Heterotopie series, the book investigates the relationship between art and video games from a variety of perspectives. Featuring eight contributions from international scholars, Machinima. From video game to video art introduces new ways of looking at game-based video art.
The book is available on Amazon.
Here's more information [in Italian]
Link Center for the Arts of the Information Age has just released How To Play Eddo Stern, a critical monograph on the avantgarde artist and game designer Eddo Stern written by critic, curator, and writer Domenico Quaranta and co-produced with Haus der elektronischen Künste Basel.
The digital version can be downloaded here.
The print version will be available soon through Link Center for the Arts + Haus der elektronischen Künste Basel.
Below is the full synopsis:
Artist and game designer Eddo Stern explores the uneasy and otherwise unconscious connections between physical existence and electronic simulation, surrounding the subject matters of violence, memory and identification. A game manual, a catalogue, a making of and an archive, "How to Play Eddo Stern" revolves around a selected body of works developed with di(erent media that can be understood as “games”. Featuring an essay by Matteo Bittanti entitled "Radar, Envisioneer, Artist. Two or Three Things I Know about Eddo Stern", the book is a deep dive into the massive amount of small bits and pieces that make up the folders of Stern’s game projects: 3D models, texture maps and atlases, backdrops, animation frame sequences, code snippets, circuit diagrams, as well as emails, design documents, meeting notes, and installation diagrams. Co-produced with Haus der elektronischen Künste Basel.
LINK: How to Play Eddo Stern
An outstanding examination of what makes gaming truly fascinating by Stephanie Boluk (Assistant professor in the English department and Cinema and Digital Media Program at University of California, Davis) and Patrick LeMieux (artist, game designer, and assistant professor in the Cinema and Digital Media Program at University of California, Davis).
This is not a review. More like an imperative: read it now!
It's incredibly inspiring for anybody who thinks that there's much more to games than gaming. Featuring, among other things, technical glitches, Renaissance painting, algorithmic trading, professional sports, and the War on Terror.
My favorite bit? Chapter 4: "Hundred Thousand Billion Fingers: Serial Histories of Super Mario Bros." Instant classic.
Below is the synopsis:
Metagaming uncovers alternative histories of play by exploring the strange experiences and unexpected effects that emerge in, on, around, and through videogames. One of the only books to include original software alongside each chapter, Metagaming transforms videogames from packaged products into instruments, equipment, tools, and toys for intervening in the sensory and political economies of everyday life.
One of the only books to include original software alongside each chapter, Metagaming transforms videogames from packaged products into instruments, equipment, tools, and toys for intervening in the sensory and political economies of everyday life. And although videogames conflate the creativity, criticality, and craft of play with the act of consumption, we don’t simply play videogames—we make metagames.
Also. Check out Patrick's brilliant art games, e.g. Frank Stella in Morro Castle, Andy Warhol Crash Infinite Times and White Painting after Robert Rauschenberg and Stephanie's ongoing projects/research (e.g. Steam Works and On Kawara and Kawara Machines). Killer kombo.
A brand new book from one of my all time heroines: Anne-Marie Schleiner, The Player's Power to Change the Game. It's out now from Amsterdam University Press and it's a must read. It's a slim book (162 pages) but contains multitudes. Here's the synopsis:
In recent decades, what could be considered a gamification of the world has occurred, as the ties between games and activism, games and war, and games and the city grow ever stronger. In this book, Anne-Marie Schleiner explores a concept she calls 'ludic mutation', a transformative process in which the player, who is expected to engage in the preprogramed interactions of the game and accept its imposed subjective constraints, seizes back some of the power otherwise lost to the game itself. Crucially, this power grab is also relevant beyond the game because players then see the external world as material to be reconfigured, an approach with important ramifications for everything from social activism to contemporary warfare.
Here's a sneak preview (table of contents and introduction).
Anne-Marie Schleiner is an artist, hackivist, educator, curator, theorist and a curator. Among other things, she created the legendary artmod Velvet-Strike with Brody Condon and Joan Leandre in 2002. She currently teaches at the National University of Singapore in the Department of Communications and New Media.
I'm thrilled to announce the release of MACHINIMA. 32 conversazioni sull'arte del videogioco, a new book featuring interviews with international artists using video games to make art. MACHINIMA. 32 conversazioni sull'arte del videogioco expands, in print form, both the exhibition GAME VIDEO/ART. A SURVEY, curated by Vincenzo Trione and I in 2016 at IULM University, in Milan, Italy, and the official catalog, released by Silvana Editoriale in June 2016.
The vast majority of the conversations with the artists featured in the show were produced by the students enrolled in the M.A. in Arts, Cultural Heritage and Markets Program at IULM. As such MACHINIMA. 32 conversazioni sull'arte del videogioco is a collective, interdisciplinary project connecting art criticism, media studies, and new media. Topics discussed range from the practice of appropriating games for making art to the artists' approaches to the medium, providing scholars, critics, and artists a set of invaluable resources to better grasp the meaning and practice of machinima.
Here's a short preview and here's the book's teaser:
MACHINIMA. 32 Conversazioni sull’arte del videogioco
Edited by Matteo Bittanti
Release date: March 08, 2017
Features: Softcover, 158 pages, black and white
Format: 15×23 cm, 6×9 inches
Larry Achiampong, Rewell Altunaga, Hugo Arcier, Marta Azparren, Benjamin Bardou, Ashley Blackman, David Blandy, Josh Bricker, Joseph Delappe, Claire Evans, Harun Farocki, Foci + Loci, Anita Fontaine, Chris Howlett, Ip Yuk–Yiu, Hui Wai–Keung, Kent Lambert, Lawrence Lek, Les Riches Douaniers, Miltos Manetas, Marco Mendeni, Victor Morales, Oscar Nodal, Baden Pailthorpe, Paolo Pedercini, Tom Richardson, Philip Solomon, Kent Sheely, Georgie Roxby Smith, Palle Torsson, Michiel Van Der Zanden, Angela Washko, Brent Watanabe.
LINK: Concrete Press
Available in a limited edition of 99 copies, this hardcover book is fully illustrated and published in hardcover format.
Below is the description, both in English and Italian.
To create Boring Postcards from Italy, COLL.EO has collected more than one hundred of the most boring images from Forza Horizon 2. The result is a book that, in sharp contrast to the title, fascinates and surprises. Boring Postcards from Italy redefines the relationship between reality and simulation with "postcards" that are "boring" both in content and composition. The project is an appropriation and homage to Martins Parr's seminal Boring Postcards series: a commentary on videogame architecture, tourism and simulation, photography and representation. It is, above all, a provocation. Text in English.
Per creare Boring Postcards from Italy, COLL.EO ha raccolto oltre un centinaio delle "cartoline" più noiose dell'Italia simulata in Forza Horizon 2. Il risultato è un libro che, in aperto contrasto con il titolo, affascina e sorprende. Questo volume illustrato rappresenta uno strumento essenziale per comprendere la complessa interazione tra gioco e fotografia, documentazione e simulazione, arte e design. Sono qui incluse immagini "noiose" a livello di contenuto, composizione e soggetto dell'Italia immaginata dai programmatori di Turn 10 Studios. Boring Postcards from Italy offre uno sguardo inedito sugli ultra-luoghi videoludici, illuminandone tanto l'architettura quanto la sottesa ideologia (nonché patologia). Frutto di una duplice appropriazione - il videogioco Forza Horizon 2, ma anche la serie Boring Postcards del fotografo britannico Martin Parr che il progetto omaggia a livello formale e contenutistico - il volume porta in primo piano la natura auto-referenziale dell'arte videoludica e, in particolare, della fotoludica, termine che indica le pratiche fotografiche all'interno dei videogiochi.
Here's a teaser:
LINK: Concrete Press
My new project is titled How to get rid of homeless.
The medium of choice is print. Or, rather, post-print.
A 600-page epic split in two volumes documenting the so-called “homeless scandal” that affected the newly released game SimCity (Maxis/Electronic Arts, 2013), How to get rid of homeless reproduces dozens of threads concerning “homelessness” that appeared in Electronic Arts’ online forum between 2012 and 2013.
I have collected, selected, and transcribed thousands of messages exchanged by the forum members who first experienced, and then tried to “eradicate”, the phenomenon of homelessness that “plagued” SimCity. From surprise to despair, from shock to resignation, these posts highlight the pitfalls of simulation, the not-so-subtle effects of ideology on game design, and the interplay between play and society, politics and entertainment.
Decontextualized from their original source and reproduced on paper sans the majority of online communication hallmarks (e.g. author’s signatures, side banners, avatar pictures etc.), these textual exchanges create a peculiar narrative. Some of the dialogues’ absurdist tones evoke Ionesco’s plays. Others reveal racist and classist biases, and forcefully introduce - or, rather, reintroduce - a highly political vision that the alleged “neutral” algorithms were supposed to overcome.
So what is How to get rid of homeless, exactly?
It is an act of defamiliarization: the original content is reproduced in a different context. Thus, the forum has been deterritorialized. It is a gesture of reblogging/retweeting/reposting digital content in a physical space.
How to get rid of homeless confers materiality (and thus “weight”) to the ephemerality of online conversations, where editing is a fluid, ongoing activity and can be performed almost in “real-time”. Print adheres to different temporalities and protocols.
How to get rid of homeless is an act of reframing: it gives the original text new shape and meaning by virtue of a novel context. Reproduced on paper, these posts challenge some of the fundamental assumptions about the form and content of the book.
As an edited reproduction of an archive, How to get rid of homeless clearly communicates its self-referential character. As an archive of an archive, How to get rid of homeless is a collection of previously assembled data. The book format is assertive: it attributes value and relevance to content normally deemed trivial and irrelevant.
As How to get rid of homeless appropriates and re-presents a collection of presences (the authors’ statements), but also of absences (e.g. missing images that have disappeared from their respective online archives), the book can be read as a meditation on the writing process itself in the age of digital media.
How to get rid of homeless is available on Amazon in a limited edition of 99 each.
Here is the full table of contents in ADD-friendly format (that is, video).
And a critical "text" that provides contextual information (also in ADD-friendly format).
Submitted by Matteo Bittanti
A new book release from CONCRETE PRESS, GRAND THEFT VITO:
"Between July 3 and 25 of 2013, San Francisco-based artists COLL.EO walked through the streets of Liberty City, the fictional metropolis of Grand Theft Auto IV (Rockstar Games, 2008) under the guise of Vito Acconci. Titled Following Bit, the performance was meant as a replay of Acconci’s seminal Following Piece (1969). Forty-four years earlier, Acconci followed for an entire month a random person each day in New York, stopping only if they entered a private space. Acconci typed up an account of each "pursuit", and sent a report to a different member of the art community the subsequent month.
COLL.EO’s 2013 replay generated an enormous set of data, consisting of 23 digital videos in high definition over 118 gigabyte in size; 13300+ digital photos; 60 digital prints; 23 written accounts sent in tweet form, plus several typewritten pages of notes, framed and mounted to a board.
A Game Art walkthrough, this book provides a unique, in-depth documentation of Following Bit and the related art mod Grand Theft Vito (2013) through texts, screengrabs, annotations, and a long conversation between COLL.EO and San Francisco-based artist Carlo Ricafort." (CONCRETE PRESS)
LINK: CONCRETE PRESS
Submitted by Matteo Bittanti
The second release from British publisher Read-Only Memory is a 300 page documentary art retrospective on the Mega Drive console edited by Keith Stuart. The book was developed in collaboration with SEGA and features previously unseen archive material, development artwork, concept sketches as well as original hardware diagrams. The book is currently funding on Kickstarter. Some highlights:
Over 20 interviews with original Japanese SEGA team members and US developers, including:
• Greg Johnson (Co-Creator of ToeJam & Earl)
• Peter Morawiec (Creator of Comix Zone)
• Rich Karpp (Developer of Vectorman and Vectorman 2)
• Michael Latham (Producer of Eternal Champions)
• Ed Annunziata (Creator of Ecco the Dolphin)
The book is fully licensed by SEGA and will also feature:
• Previously unseen concept artwork, design documents and sketches for a wealth of SEGA’s 16-bit titles, including Bare Knuckle/Streets of Rage, Sonic the Hedgehog, Golden Axe and ToeJam & Earl.
• Hardware manufacturing plans and concept illustrations.• 20+ exclusive interviews with legendary Japanese SEGA developers, including: Naoto Oshima (Sonic the Hedgehog), Yu Suzuki (Space Harrier) and Yuji Naka (Sonic the Hedgehog).
• 15,000-word essay by Keith Stuart.
• Foreword by Dave Perry (Earthworm Jim, Aladdin).
LINK: READ ONLY MEMORY
Submitted by Matteo Bittanti