This past weekend I was lucky enough to be invited as a guest to a machinima expo sponsored by Pop Art Lab.
The virtual venue was an eclectic mix of disco Tron and college amphitheater, complete with neon and multiple big screens to show off the machinima offerings.
And what offerings they were! My personal favorite remains the submission by Kira Madrigal, due in a large part to the focus on telling a story visually.
In her interpretation of Giana Factory’s Pixelated Truth, the music used for all the videos, she plays out the life of a game character from the actual character’s point of view. The player behind the game character is a little girl, too young for such games.
In one of my favorite scenes the little girl sits staring at traditional toys, unplayed with. Later she has returned to her computer where her game character, a scantily clad woman, dances suggestively. This small girl is far to young to be acting as a woman, but with games so accessible in our society we never really know who is behind the avatar we see on screen. As the song pleads, “Please save the youth…”
Despite the concern at seeing such a young girl playing an adult looking video game I find myself drawn into the game character’s existence as we watch it play out, and find myself feeling genuine sympathy when the game character’s life is ended and she ceases to exist. The story plays out well, elicits genuine emotional involvement and fits with the lyrics. I want to congratulate this machinima maker on a well done production, and hope to see more offerings from her in the near future.
Another favorite amazed me with how much it resembled a contemporary music video. Created by Arbit Delacroix, it featured all the traditional trappings of a good music video. Visually stimulating, plenty of images of the band playing and excellent scenery… I especially loved the recreation of the old school video game machine that sported Giana Factory graphics. It was the visual metaphor of life and performance art as a game we play, but is it us playing our own game or is someone else at the controls ‘playing us’?
The whole affair was a fantastic production, and the real winners should be Claus Uriza, Persia Bravin and the rest of the Pop Art Lab for their hard work putting this important expo together. All the elements were there, attendees got to meet and speak with the danish band, Giana Factory. Rhett Linden gave an engaging and informative talk on machinima opportunities in platforms such as Second Life. Chantal Harvey, also a long time supporter of virtual arts, charmed us with her presentation. Press, artists and fans overflowed the actual theater and the entire production was broadcast live on Treet TV.
Congratulations to everyone who made this expo a success. I hadn’t really experienced a lot of machinima prior to this experience, but now I am sold as a supporter for this art form and plan to continue my support. Machinima opens up opportunities for music artists and more to visually present their work without a huge investment. For the first time, creative inspiration trumps a fat wallet, and anyone with the talent, vision and determination can create a masterpiece.