Tuesday, September 29, 2015

For our second project in New Media in Art, I decided to create a video within the theme of video games (shocker!). I filmed myself as I played the game Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn on my PlayStation 3. The focus of the video is on my hands as they interact with the controller while I play. Though at first I intended to simply explore this interaction between man and the conduit to the virtual world and the discrepancies between reality and the game world, I realized that I had the potential to comment on a larger societal behavior: namely, the recent popularity of watching "Let's Play" videos. For those who don't know, a "Let's Play" video is simply a video of a gamer playing a game, typically made either to function as a guide for players who are stuck at a particular part of a game, or more commonly for the entertainment of others. Such videos always feature a feed of the game and occasionally narration by or a feed of the gamer as they play.

The box art for the game I was playing

I found this recent trend to be fascinating: playing video games themselves can be considered an activity removed from reality. If this is the case, then watching another play a video game is twice removed from reality. What is it that draws so many people to this type of entertainment? What is its appeal? I decided to investigate this in my film.

In the end, my project transformed from a film about pushing buttons on a controller to a full on mock "Let's Play" video. I removed the usual elements of a game feed and narration, leaving the viewer to interact only with the physical act of playing a video game. My hope is that this video will shed some light on how and why we interact with this type of media the way we do.

Below is a link to the video:

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Recently I’ve found a lot of inspiration from these pieces.

Ghost sculpture by Michael Whiting

8-bit Pipe sculpture by Aden Hynes

Tetris sculpture by Aden Hynes

Who Is This Alison Person?

I come from a relatively small city in the bay area and am an aspiring artist/designer. By day, I do my best to hack my way through studio classes and critiques, and by night, I’m a dedicated gamer spending inordinate amounts of time hatching Pokémon eggs in hopes of getting a rare colored Pokémon (the chances of which are 1/1365 with no successes thus far) to rub in the face of fellow players. I have a variety of interests from video games to birds, philosophy, music, cartoons, anime, and crime TV shows. Much of my work up to this point has explored some of these interests, with many pieces featuring imagery of feathers, pixels, and silhouettes. Artistically, I am drawn to physical mediums such as oil paint, watercolor, charcoal, yarn and string, though I have always had an interest in adopting the use of digital mediums as well.

I’m still refining who I am as an artist and what my artistic interests and goals are. At the moment, I’m interested in creating a body of work solely focused on video games and the experiences of gamers while playing, both the good and the bad. So expect to see a piece about the frustrations of hatching virtual eggs sometime in the near future.

A Pokémon egg. Both a source of artistic inspiration and deep frustration.