The Art of In-Game Photography talk + Shooting Virtual Cities: In-Game Photography Workshop

The Art of In-Game Photography, talk with Gareth Damian Martin and Rachel Falconer.

date: 7 July 2018, 12:00,
location: The Photographers’ Gallery, London

Video games present a new territory for photographers, one where the real and the virtual are in constant flux. The spaces created within them are as much places to be explored and experienced as they are entertainment and have given rise to the art form of ‘in-game photography’.

This talk introduces some of the photographic techniques applied by artists to the virtual environment and architecture within games and how their practice fits within a tradition of conceptual photographic work, with reference to photographers such as Thomas Demand and Hiroshi Sugimoto.

Artist and writer Gareth Damian Martin presents his work and is joined by digital art curator Rachel Falconer in a discussion of these innovative approaches.

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source: https://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/whats-on/talks-and-events/art-game-photography

 

Shooting Virtual Cities: In-Game Photography Workshop, by Gareth Damien Martin

date: 7 July 2018, 14:30-17:30
location: The Photographers’ Gallery, London

Working under the guidance of game photographer Gareth Damian Martin, this workshop gives participants the opportunity to create images that respond to and build upon game environments.

Documenting the city of Los Santos from the game Grand Theft Auto V, participants will work in small groups to produce a portfolio of work that responds to a specific area of the city, and in doing so learn about both game photography as well as ways of seeing, manipulating and documenting game worlds.

This workshop is aimed at both photographers interested in exploring photographic practice in games, those curious about game worlds and in-game photography, as well as those interested in exploring new approaches to street and urban photography.

Participants should bring their own devices to take photographs. No prior experience is necessary.

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source: https://thephotographersgallery.org.uk/whats-on/workshop/shooting-virtual-cities-game-photography-workshop

Alan Butler, Sturtevant/a_m_f_skidrow_01 Finite Infinite, 2018

SITUATION #129: Alan Butler, Sturtevant/a_m_f_skidrow_01 Finite Infinite, 2018

part of Fotomuseum Winterthur SITUATIONS programme.

In Sturtevant/a_m_f_skidrow_01 Finite Infinite, a short video loop portraying a non-player character (NPC) from a computer game is projected on a rotating beamer in the installation space. The installation builds on Butler’s previous work, Down and Out in Los Santos. There, the artist embarked on a journey through the social landscape of the video game Grand Theft Auto V to document the lives of homeless NPCs in the virtual city of Los Santos. One of the characters he encountered is at the centrepiece of his new work: a homeless NPC that bears a striking resemblance to conceptual artist Sturtevant. The character is transformed into a hybrid, computational entity, half human-looking, yet resembling a dog running endlessly in circles. By directing our gaze to the characters that inhabit the uncanny borders of non/human, the artist challenges the viewer to rethink anthropomorphic representation and consider these digital entities and bots as autonomous creatures that do not subjugate to a human hierarchy.

Sturtevant/a_m_f_skidrow_01 Finite Infinite is accompanied by the online video essay Mondo Cane.

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source: https://www.fotomuseum.ch/en/explore/situations/154957

Russian in-game photography community

Konstantin Remizov has kindly offered a glimpse into the Russian community of in-game photographers that he is part of, existing in its current form since 2016: https://vk.com/ingameph

[Notable projects:]

– a collective take on using the famous “Hall of mirrors” glitch for aesthetic purposes: https://vk.com/wall-122046911_1795

– a recontextualization of Daido Moriyama’s work and methods in the gamespace of Driv3r: https://vk.com/wall-122046911_1508

– an essay on parrallels between in-game photography and the works of Thomas Ruff and Jeff Wall (yup, on russian): https://vk.com/wall-122046911_1548

From time to time we also post notable works from outside the community and translate important texts (or even write our own, as evidenced above). But mostly, of course, the content of the group is constituted by the good old-fashioned thermite art, to borrow Manny Farber’s term – a constant flow of surreal experiences and deliberate deconstructions.

Unlike other communities of in-game photography, this stands out as having a very artistic sense and strongly connected with photographic history and traditions.

Claire Hentschker – GTA Image Average Series

Claire Hentschker, “GTA Image Average Series”, 2017


Avatar above the Sea, © Claire Hentschker, 2017

Rückenfigur, literally “back-figure” in German, is a compositional device that was often used by Caspar David Friedrich. In Friedrich’s painting Wanderer in the Sea of Fog, the viewer is invited into the composition through a figure in the painting’s foreground that serves as surrogate for the scene. We see the back of the man’s black coat as he stands atop a rocky terrain before the grandness of the sea, horizon, and sky before him. The man gazes into sublime nature, and through him—this Rückenfigur—we, the viewers of the painting, become immersed in the setting and can witness his grand view of the landscape with our own eyes, as if through the back of his head. Grand Theft Auto V presents a similar opportunity for immersion into a landscape by way of an avatar with its back turned—a digital Rückenfigur of sorts.

Owning and playing Grand Theft Auto (GTA) is not the only way to experience the majesty of a digital world that has been created to encapsulate the narrative of the game. Many individuals participate in the YouTube economy of posting and watching videos of gameplay. Such documentation videos are frequently recorded in third-person mode, characterized by the back of an avatar at the center of the screen through which the player navigates the world. With this perspective, the landscape shifts while the avatar remains relatively fixed in the foreground of the scene. Unlike in Friedrich’s world, the Rückenfigur through which we experience the GTA landscape is not necessarily human. There are third-person videos to be found featuring any or all the following protagonists: bikes, cars, trucks, trains, motorcycles, blimps, helicopters, boats, and even all-powerful and immortal deer. (The latter the result of a fantastic artwork by Brent Watanabe.)

The desire to capture the sublime potential of nature through an idealized scene may have begun with Friedrich, but it transcends the ages, as evidenced in the names of uploaded gameplay videos. Excerpts entitled GTA 5 SunsetGTA V: Beautiful sunset flightGrand Theft Auto V—The Drive Through The SunsetGTA 5—Beat The Sunset: A Drifting Montage, only begin to scratch the surface of the vast amount of video recorded by one player’s avatar’s experience of the same algorithmic sunset. These videos consistently feature comments by viewers expressing their gratitude for the video and their shared appreciation of the beauty of the landscape. For example, viewer GTAgreat says, “Good job. Sunset is breathtaking :OOO.”

In this series of works, I want to investigate Grand Theft Auto as a subject of art that transposes Friedrich’s subjective Romanticism to the digital age. I am particularly interested in working with videos that other players have already deemed important enough to share. This collection provides a sampling of GTA’s digital world that incorporates both the gaze of an avatar and the eyes of a living viewer encoded into the experience of the scene. The view and the location presented around the avatar is a representation of what a single player decided to record and share.

To create the images in the series, I employed a technique called “image averaging,” notably used previously by artists such as Jim Campbell and Jason Salavon. The average of a series of digital images is calculated so that the more consistent characteristics shared by the images are rendered in greater detail. In this case, I was using video frames from YouTube videos of GTA gameplay. The game’s avatar, consistently encountering the world around it, remains a constant presence on the screen and is therefore rendered in more detail than the surrounding world. As the world passes by, the avatar remains virtually unchanged, and the contrast between the more realized avatar and the blur of the shifting landscape becomes evident in the resulting images. Each image is the sum of someone’s desire to share an imaginary world through a gameplay video. And, as Sammy R—in the comments section of one of these videos assures us—“This is Art.”

source: http://www.clairesophie.com/gta-image-average-series/

Skawennati – Machinimagraphs

Skawennati has coined the term “Machinimagraph” to identitfy a still image taken from machinima.

She Is Dancing With Herself, © Skawennati, Machinimagraph 16:9, 2015, from http://studioforcreativeinquiry.org/events/skawennati

Skawennati is a pioneering new media artist working with digital art and machinima. She addresses issues of history and identity, and she is behind CyberPowWow, an Indigenously-determined online gallery conceived in 1996, which pave the way for Concordia’s Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace.

artist website: http://www.skawennati.com/

Rob Wetzer – Lost Worlds (2013 – ongoing)

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Installation shots of Lost Worlds at Photo Festival Schiedam 2017, http://www.fotofestivalschiedam.nl/exhibition/lost-worlds/
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Lost Worlds in Raw View #8, http://www.rawview.org/product/raw-view-8/

Lost Worlds is a visual exploration for what we perceive as nature, or natural.

The environments in which I make these images are the virtual landscapes of videogames. Where these landscapes used to be cardboard backdrops, they have become seemingly unlimited worlds. Designed to seduce the player to go explore pristine landscapes, they contain lush rainforests, icy mountain ranges, rushing waterfalls and barren deserts. Well-programmed weather systems provide rain, sunshine or snow and day and night cycles add to the ‘realness’ of the experience. To achieve a sublime-as-possible experience, the designs of these landscapes borrow heavily from Romantic interpretations of nature by painters as Caspar David Friedrich and Albert Bierstadt.

source: https://www.robwetzer.nl/lost-worlds/

more info: http://www.gamescenes.org/2017/02/game-art-robert-wetzers-lost-worlds-2013-ongoing.html