[iso-8859-1] seanheaLy? on Thu, 6 Jun 2002 18:35:13 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Gameboy_ultraF_ukkers

I'm about to squeeze the following interview into half it's size for a
but thought u might like the X-tended version?

It's with Tom Corby/Gavin Bailly from
whose work appeared recently at an X-hibition of
computer game influenced pieces in Melbourne, Oz...

ciao bunni~!

> Can u describe Gameboy_ultraF_uk? & What inspired you to mangle a

Firstly the project isn't a game at all. Its a renderer of the type
that you can download anywhere on the net to play old arcade games like
asteroids. What weve done with this piece is re-write or modify an
open-source gameboy emulator. So we haven't changed any of the games at
all, we've just messed with the emulator that the games load into.

The changes in the code mean that the rendering of the games is
unpredictable. Game entities mutate into background and interface
elements, or appear as fragments of the games binary code. Text begins
to emerge as a jumble of characters, sprites and binary data. Scanline
bytes are miscopied, transformed and duplicated. Memory is blitted into
sections of the screen, as the inside of the game seeps to the outside.
Variations in the rendering behaviour are triggered by user interactions
implicit in the game play and are manipulated by a Cellular Automata
'metabolism' giving rise to inter-related rendering symptoms. We call
this "bit rot".

This obviously problematises the playing of the game as it deconstructs
the interface, foregrounding the fact that the games are ultimately made
up of code and that the interface is a site of language. In this sense
it's fundamentally anti-immersive, as it denies the transparency of the
interface (the supposed
goal of "good" interface design).

> What do you think drives the desire for 'digital dirt' ?
To paraphrase filmmaker Robert Whitman " we just want to understand what
we're being threaded through." We tend to work with and against
conventions concerning interface, interactivity and productivity in
order to highlight, how software/code hugely affects the way we access
and exchange information and thus perceive a highly mediated world.
Software code isn't neutral, it's socially formed,  it's production is a
ripe area for artists to colonise.

> Moody Renderer, allows the user to be a software dj, mixing and
matching software to make new hybrids. How far have you gone with that,
and how the hell do you expect it to work?
Moody Renderer (believe it or not) turned into the gameboy piece. When
we talked about a "software dj" it was a metaphor to describe how we
were trying to involve and overlap forms of language (in terms of
semiotics, interface/image, interactivity etc) to form new artefacts.
Also a big part of what we do involves the use of autonomous processes.
Most of the work we do, makes use of basic AI (artificial intelligence)
structures to inject wilful or disruptive tendencies into the operation
of the software... the user interacts and manipulates the software but
it (the software) also returns the favour... hence the title of the
piece "Moody Renderer".

> Youve made your own browser too. Why?
The browser piece (Reconnoitre 1998) is what we're best known for. It's
a 3D browser that performs a kind of "cut-up" technique to the web pages
loaded into it. It was made to explore alternative metaphors for
describing/navigating the Internet. In this sense it was
offering an alternative to the normal flat page-like structure of the
web that browsers such as Internet Explorer and Netscape navigator
offer. Rather than present the web as a homogenised, corporate and over
designed "McWeb", it re-purposes the information it finds to highlight
the nets hidden structure, it's programming languages, links and other
protocols... The web is an intricate ecology, a thing of beauty in it's
own right, we
thought that should be celebrated.

> What inspires u to play with code as an artist?
The interesting thing about code (yes readers code can be interesting)
is that by understanding it, and being able to use it, puts artists in a
very powerful position. Being able to code means that you can work at a
very deep level. This really opens-up the creative process and allows
the generation of new artefacts/ideas/possibilities. It also means that
you have much more control over what you are making because you are not
reliant on other people...or programs for that matter...

I'm going to upset some people here, but when we say code, we don't mean
shockwave or flash. Pre-packaged authoring packages like these, can lead
to pre-canned work. Flash/shockwave forces you to work within a narrow
band of possibilities, i.e. those allowed by the designers of the
program (even with lingo and actionscript). These programs are also
proprietary which leads us nicely to your next question.

> What attracts you to open source software?

Our support of Open source software is predicated on the basis that old
fashioned virtues of collaboration and participation are set against
corporate obsessions with control and  the implementation of closed
proprietary systems (Flash/Shockwave). It's highly political, it's
visionary and very exciting. Strictly speaking gameboy_ultraF_uk is
"Free Software" and falls under"copyleft". Everyone has permission to
run the program, or copy and, modify the code. They can distribute it in
any manner that they like but do not have permission to add restrictions
of their own. In his way everyone benefits, as the code is freely
available in all its versions. In regard the gameboy piece the code in
this sense may be considered a 'readymade' into which an artistic
intervention has been made. We're happy for people to modify it as long
as they release it to the community.

> Information wants to be free, but artists, musicians and coders want
to be fed. How do you see the next generation of creatives being fed?

For painters, film makers, musicians it's tough and getting tougher
(especially in UK). Inevitably people find their own way to support what
they do but very few artists actually make a living from their work. The
new generation of artists who code, are in a unique position, in that
they have transferable and highly lucrative skills......you really
shouldn't have any trouble getting work to fund your practice. For
everyone else I'm afraid it's the same
old story of struggle and fitting in studio time around (generally)
badly paid jobs....I guess we're lucky we can code.

> Your advice for wannabe artist-coders?
Don't disappear into the black hole of programming, read lots, go to
exhibitions, take plenty of exercise and don't forget to get out to see
your mates!

article up shortly at

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