i want (2020)
I Want is a six channel video installation made as my final thesis show for my MFA from ArtCenter College of Design. Originally intended to be a public exhibiton in March of 2020, the installation now exists as a virtual recreation. This digital version was then reintroduced into the intial physical space as part of a private exhibition for my final review.
The virtual installation can be experienced by downloading the application here. Mac and Windows versions are available.
Gamespaces are often coated in a photorealistic veneer: .jpg skins warped onto three- dimensional geometric skeletons. Underneath the illusions are unsanctioned parallel universes. Faux flora dots the surface of these iridescent sublime glitchscapes. This is only possible to see through a refusal of a game's systems and code: glitching, modding, and hacking. There's a term to describe these tactics of intervention: countergaming.
If my interest is in making game environments into queer spaces for unlearning and introspection, is it enough to just inject queerness into the code of the game? A heterocentric game with a rainbow filter is still a heterocentric game: a queer ludic experience needs to be built from the ground up to incorporate queerness at its core.
Machinima, the practice of making films using video game frameworks and assets, could be the answer. By translating the game away from its original context and boundaries, new queerer realities can emerge. There are no restrictive gameplay mechanics or invisible walls. The landscape becomes a stage. The player becomes a camera.
I looked out at where the horizon should have been. In its place was a Hex Code #7d7dff void. My avatar was facing the same direction, but I'm unsure if he was looking at this emptiness, or even if he could. His eyes weren't currently being rendered: they were instead being obstructed by a spiked helmet. I began to think about how much time I spent in my youth projecting myself onto this avatar. A thousand hours, at least. Why did I choose this armor over the rest? It wasn't the most powerful or most efficient, but it obscured any signs of the human underneath. I could bury myself underneath an edgelord exterior. I snapped out of this spiraling thought. I was still recording.