Curators: Jonathan Gervasi, Antonella Mascio, Agata Meneghelli,
Elisabetta Modena, Marco Scotti, Alberto Salarelli.
|second life, linden lab, pc, 2006.
Which kind of landscape are the one described by videogames, from the eighties till today? To which models do they refer? And which stories do they tell, which architectures do they represent? How does the landscape change from the single-player videogames to the on-line multi-player ones? And finally, could the “virtual worlds”, as they are accesible and attemptable to anyone anytime be considered public landscape?
The project of this research/exhibition is founded on the will to inquire into some of the most significative examples of digital visualizations of the relationship between landscape and architecture, and its history, development, role, new possibilities that technology puts in the hands of planners and designers and the more widespread tendences.
Then a sociological and semiotic contextualization will be necessary to frame in its historic picture this product of the popular culture and of the entertainment, the videogame, that from the eighties till today has represented (and presented) the reality of the public imagination.
Development of the research.
The research will be organized with two lines:
1. History and analysis of the videogames landscape.
|sim city, maxis/nintendo, super nes, 1991.
This section will historically analyze the evolution of the videogames landscape from the single-player to the on-line multi-player, from the 2-D graphics to the 3D worlds which let the player go across the virtual landscape (an extremely realistic and complex one in the latest games on the latest consoles and pcs), until the MMGO (on-line virtual worlds) based upon the possibility for the “people” who live them to interact withe the landscape.
The Historical analysis will use some interpretative critical keys that, considering the evident technical entailments, will give the instruments to define the evolution of a genre with deep roots inside iconographic and artistic cultural tradition
The landscape inside videogame represent first of all a support scene for a story which is very often based upon the fairy tales sytagms (Propp), implying an highly imaginitive character. The first landscapes (Pac-Man) are just a grid in which to move for the player-pawn, an ideal plan which remind the most famous parlour games. The skylines traced in many eighties games have the peculiarity to build the equivalent of a theatrical wing, in front of which is developed a narrative and interactive plot, or which it is thought to create illusory three-dimensional effects, illusions of speed or breakings. A model which then gives up to the construction of a tridimensional space, build up with solids and polygons: you can go across it and try it, but also build it and project it (in the Sim City series for example we’ve gone from thinking a bidimensional city from an aerial vision to the design of a 3-d highly complex metropolis lived by virtual citizens). The actually more famous virtual world, Second Life, offers a complex system: inside this simulation, which could remind various electronic forerunners, (Sim City again and its various derivations, but overall The Sims), freely downloadable from its internet site, after an initial registration and character creation, permit to “play” building yourself a life, designing a your virtual architectures (investing real money), in a parallel world with real rules and conventions, real representations, with its own economy (the value its the Linden Dollar, which has a variable exchange rate) and which is inhabited by thousand of other avatars with whom its possible to interact.
2. Digital landscape sociology and semiotic.
|pac man, midway, arcade, 1980.
This is the section which deals from the sociology and semiotic point of view with the peculiarities of virtuality and with the accesibility of the virtual worlds to define their characteristics attributable to the idea of “public”, intended as possibility of a shared availability/accesibility. The research will procede towards a careful critical enquiry and towards the comparison between various stories and inteviews. Which realtionship is there between the real landscape, made up of cultural stratification and collective memory, and the virtual one, designed following schemes that go from individual creativity to postmodern quotation? And, finally, what is there, and how much, of public in the virtual?