From 06 to 15 november 2015
DIGITAL HOMO LUDENS
"Playing is a serious business".
According to Johan Huizinga, Dutch historian, who wrote Homo ludens, playing is the essence of all cultures, as genuine civilizations can only exist because of ludic elements.
Today, the global social gamification phenomenon also impacts education, consumption and life. This gamification, supported by emerging digital technologies, has gradually associated video games and their processes with “our own lives” regarding various fields including advertising, architecture, fashion, medecine and art.
How do these game processes influence our desires? Is there a secret power that uses games as a tool to alienate our free will?
With its development, the video game industry has helped to introduce and share new technological interfaces. The use of keyboards and mice is now being altered, allowing the human body and its movements to become the interface. Many control systems (Wiimote, Kinect, Leap motion, Oculus…) are using scientific and research advanced technologies, which later became consumption products.
These new interfaces are available for everyone, and have inspired new generations of artists who use these mass technologies with fun and spontaneity. The artists are therefore involved in creating the “Digital homo ludens”, a new human species that turns these products into creation tools.
How is the relationship between men and machines driven by these original interfaces?
Rapidly promoted by different military-industrial complexes, the video game industry often provides a subjective vision of the world using low-cost entertainment production. This could suggest that video games now act as a “show”, one of these “propaganda devices of capital control in our life”, as previously described by Guy Debord.
These virtual technological locations have become territories to be artistically conquered and implemented to support a sort of “technological sovereignty” as defined by Alex Haché. Video game technologies provide a “providential manna” of creation tools and techniques for the artists. While this toolkit is continuously being developed, a number of hardware and software devices are made available and can be reused for artistic purposes.
This mass media is captured and altered by the artists to create a new meaning. The “technological sovereignty” concept here involves a type of technological independence to be reflected in the art productions. As with most art media, these hijacked technologies gives you the opportunity to learn and build your own world. The urge to understand goes along with the urge to recapture the technological future in our society through art.
These artists highlight and criticize the potential impact of these technologies in our life, as opposed to the overwhelming techno-positivism, which praises its various curative, educational, sports functions, etc.
The art pieces and installations presented during this edition are “contextual” as defined by Paul Ardenne. With their unique art practices and forms as well as revolutionary transfigurative abilities, the artist is a social actor with troublemaking tendencies. The art piece status is being altered and reflects problematic issues that are highly connected with today’s world, beyond the concept of interactivity. The relationship between creativity, imagination and games will be featured in these art installations during this 11th festival edition. The emergence and development of communities, networks, new production and broadcasting sites is reflected in these installations. The artistic creativity here embraces many impulses including sharing, freedom and utopia.
The concept of games (Homo ludens) combined with digital technologies questions the future of human beings beyond the concept of knowledge (Homo sapiens) and work (Homo faber).
During this 11th Edition of GAMERZ Festival, 40 international artists will be playing and hijacking these new technological dimensions and their development.
This year’s festival will focus on creations that have been currently partially archived or hardly ever been seen, giving an overview of these new art devices which are closely related to video games universe and technologies. The audience will be invited to immerse themselves into the work of these artists, through the prism of this new species named Digital Homo Ludens.