Images X Technology X Society (‘Caesura’ talk series #2)
Forgetter, Video Game as Curatorial Space
Speaker: Yang Jing
Moderator: Dr. Tsz Yuen Lai
Yang Jing is a writer, curator and designer in the intersection of game and art. She has curated various contemporary art exhibitions featuring game art, art game and non-art games both online and offline. She writes and publishes reviews, interviews and creative writing on game for multiple media platforms in China and Hong Kong. Right now, she is working with artist Alan Kwan on a unique job simulation game: Forgetter, inviting players to make their own choices to destroy or keep memory blocks in the mind of deceased artists. Forgetter is a game produced by DSLcollection, and it features many contemporary Chinese art as narrative cues and playable objects.
Since June 2020, I am working with artist Alan Kwan and DSLcollection making a game called Forgetter. We adopted a unique approach based on our experience in the video game and contemporary art: we are not building a virtual museum that hangs up paintings and captions as physical museums do; instead, we designed a fictional story where artworks become embedded visual-spatial-narrative objects in a story, a dream, a memory. The visitors, in this case, become active players, they are not limited to only see, but to construct meanings, relating to the meaning and pleasure/displeasure hidden in the artwork, and even decide the fate of these artwork in the game story. The design process of the concept, story, space and visual of this game is very similar to the design process of a contemporary art exhibition. We select artworks, communicate with collectors and artists to better understand these works, and contextualize them with a sci fi world building approach. To build such an immersive digital environment, we need to conduct research not only of the artwork but also the context and character, we need to design not only the story, the traffic flow, but also the sound, the props, the lighting. What separates our game from most of the exhibition, especially during covid-19, is its engagement with the player. The player makes the game as much as we do. I know everyone here is very familiar with relational aesthetics or socially engaged art movement. Video game by nature has a huge advantage in pushing such endeavors further, for its core function and attraction is interactivity, or in the gamer's language, it is ‘play’.