The Building Is – design blog #1

29 May 2012 | 0 comments

So, a lucky team from Hide&Seek arrived in Paris yesterday. We’re here for the next month, completing the design and installation of The Building Is... our new game commission for Joue le Jeu, la Gâité Lyrique’s summer festival. It feels really important to document the making of this game, so we’re going to do that here.

There’s so much to write about, and artist process blogs can be a bit tl;dr if you’re not careful. So – here’s the rules. 250 words a day, on a different topic, with pictures and practical examples.

Okay here goes. Word count starts now!

It’s time to celebrate our collaborators. We’re working with some amazing people and organisations on the project: there are arduino experts, experience designers, architects – the list is long. But the first to mention is la Gâité Lyrique.

It is a tremendously exciting moment to be invited to create something as part of a show that focuses on games as cultural form. Games are, here, the center of attention, contemporary artworks in themselves… And I think it’s a result of of La Gâité Lyrique’s approach to curating and producing new work.

In our experience, whenever we are making games with a cultural institution, we are working against the momentum of that institution. Each institution has a function for which it was originally intended, and the education, the craft and the ideology of the institution and the people within it cannot help but prioritise that function.

Looks a little bit new-aesthetic-y, now I think of it

Because La Gâité is not bound to a particular artform, it is instead able to concern itself with what is happening today, in all its troubling complexity. This sustained act of paying attention to the world as it is, and transforming the results of that attention into shaped experience in a public cultural space, is a radical act. It calls to mind for me James Bridle et al’s work around the New Aesthetic, or Momus’s heroic act of daily culture-blogging at Click Opera, except rendered at the level of a building and an organisation.

And it means that we, as game designers, can get on with designing games. Hallelujah.

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