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The Killscreen Podcast

The Killscreen Podcast

By Jamin Warren
Killscreen is an arts and culture organization committed to advancing the dialogue and practice of games and play. Founded in 2010, we seek to drive the intersection of games, play, and culture through cross-disciplinary collaboration to show the world why play matters. We want to break down the barriers that have traditionally segregated play and games from other creative disciplines and highlight creators with ambassadorial relationships to the world around us.

This podcast highlights the creators advance the mission of why games matter with a focus on design, impact, and culture.
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Videogames, conspiracy theories and the American imagination

The Killscreen Podcast

Videogames, conspiracy theories and the American imagination

The Killscreen Podcast

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Rachel Rossin creates entropy from infinity
How do we account for the tension between technology’s infinite, unrestricted promise and the impermanence of being human? Rachel Rossin interrogates this slippage. Floating between painting, VR worlds, holograms, and more, the Brooklyn-based artist carries with her the essence of what it means to be alive. Rossin’s work meditates on and pushes the boundaries of human perception, the tenderness, and the vulnerability of empirical experience. Here, she speaks with us on her childhood underwater, the illusory nature of immersive technology, and the need to return to entropy. Rachel’s new project, I’m my loving memory, is in Rhizome’s traveling show, World on a Wire.
15:15
February 18, 2021
Salome Asega on cultivating the ecosystem of art and technology
Embodied” may be the best word to describe the projects of artist, researcher, and educator Salome Asega. She has created VR experiences that evoke the channeling of diasporic spirits, a Kinect lesson that reinstates a dance form’s history, and a roulette wheel that sends participants to lesser-known corners of a world-famous museum. Experiences that physically engage the body are clearly at the heart of the artist, researcher, and educator’s work. Trained in creative technology and social practice, Salome’s work also centers the communities she is part of. Based in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood, she’s a director at POWRPLNT, a digital art ‘collaboratory’ in neighboring Bushwick, where she also leads creative workshops. Salome told us about her hyper-real upbringing in Las Vegas, the trials of working within the uncharted territory of art and tech, and the power for participatory work to destabilize the long-held role of the artist.
31:01
February 3, 2021
Gayatri Kodikal excavates the ruins of history, time, and play
On a walk around Old Goa, artist Gayatri Kodikal chanced upon an archaeological dig in progress. Her curiosity swelling, she jumped over the fence to see what was on the other side: a mysterious severed hand thought to belong to an ancient Georgian queen. This object spearheaded a multi-year, multi-pronged project spanning research, storytelling, forensics, and game-making. The Travelling Hand, inspired by this archaeological mystery, takes players on a labyrinthine journey through time, space, and civilization, to unveil the story behind this ancient artifact. Part of an ongoing project, a meditation on the methodology of game-making in critical practice, The Travelling Hand offers a reminder to the struggle of holding onto heritage, identity, and ethnicity. Gayatri walked us through her immersive installation at TENT Rotterdam—the latest iteration of The Travelling Hand—which is on view until February 17th, 2021. Made up of a constellation of stories about religion, colonial/imperial power, archaeology, geopolitics, marginal histories, and resistance, the game board is set for three players. Each play is unique and lasts one hour, and there are multiple storylines to explore at the same time. Here, Gayatri speaks with us about the simultaneous specificity and freedom that comes with working in games, disrupting western notions of time and progression, and how the concept of shapeshifting guides her work.
32:17
January 20, 2021
Yasmin Elayat believes art drives innovation
Yasmin Elayat is a self-proclaimed ‘hybrid’—she’s a new-media documentarian, a creative technologist, a collaborative storyteller, and a spatial designer. She co-created #18DaysinEgypt, a collaborative documentary centered on the Egyptian revolution; co-directed an interactive documentary set within the New York City subway system, Blackout,  and Zero Days, a VR film about cyber warfare that won an Emmy for Original Approach in Documentary. Along with James George and Alexander Porter, Yasmin is also the Co-Founder of Scatter, a New York-based entertainment studio that creates tools and collaborates with artists to ‘volumetric filmmaking:’ storytelling through immersive technologies. Scatter’s Depthkit allows its users to create accessible storytelling experiences through 3D capture. Here, Yasmin tells us about how working in a museum space led her to spatial and volumetric filmmaking, demystifying the role of creative technologist, and what it’s like to run a tech company fueled by creativity—one that continually redefines itself alongside its community.
32:10
January 6, 2021
Nicole He on talking to computers
Nicole He is a creative technologist whose work lives in the space between video games, physical computing, and witty conceptual art. With experience advising projects for Kickstarter and imagining projects for Google, she’s programmed AI to converse with Billie Eilish for Vogue, physical sensors that help users swipe on a dating app and a Twitter bot that regularly photographs her growing fig plant. As Nicole embarks on two long-term interactive projects—one is an arts-funded experimental game that uses voice technology, and the other is a commercial indie game—she finds herself more and more interested in immersing herself within the world of games. Here, we speak with Nicole about what distinguishes the industry of video games and that of creative technology, the particularities of one’s voice as a method to activate technology, and how behind every digital project is a living, breathing human.
31:03
December 7, 2020
Monument Valley's Lea Schönfelder on designing within constraints
When we look at our phone screens, we typically aren’t thinking about the borders.  We don’t notice the edges of our phones and how those boundaries limit our experience. It’s no wonder Apple’s crowning achievement for the iPhone X was adding a teeeeny bit of space to the edge of the phone. But that little frame for designers is everything. Things you could do on a giant 4K screen in your living room, you simply can’t do on your mobile phone. ustwo games knows these boundaries intimately. They are a mobile games design studio housed inside of a larger global digital product studio called ustwo. The design shop ustwo is based in London and was initially known for their client work for folks like Google, Ford, Samsung and more. So when they started ustwo games six years ago, there was already a lot of accrued internal knowledge about how to work with small screens. ustwo games’ Monument Valley was a smash hit for a few reasons. It’s delightfully colored. It uses space in a novel way. And most importantly, it’s simple! That’s not a pejorative. It’s very easy to understand almost immediately. In Monument Valley, you’re a silent princess on a quest for forgiveness. In Monument Valley 2, you play as a mother and daughter on an adventure together. We spoke to Lea Schönfelder, a game designer on Monument Valley 2, about the differences between games and experiences, the difficulty of designing something easy, and how limits foster elegant design. -- Resources: + ustwo games + Monument Valley 1 & 2 Host: Jamin Warren (@jaminwarren) -- Credits: Anthony Martinez, producer Nick Sylvester, music -- About Killscreen Killscreen is an arts and culture organization committed to advancing the dialogue and practice of games and play. Founded in 2010, we seek to drive the intersection of games, play, and culture through cross-disciplinary collaboration to show the world why play matters. We want to break down the barriers that have traditionally segregated play and games from other creative disciplines and highlight creators with ambassadorial relationships to the world around us. Follow us: Website, Twitter, Instagram
18:40
August 8, 2020
Videogames, conspiracy theories and the American imagination
p>-- We recorded this long before QAnon took hold and the President of the United States was advising people to inject disinfectant into our veins. Since then the relevance of conspiracy theories has become more important. This was recorded live in 2016 at the Killscreen Festival. When I moved to California from New York a couple years ago, I’ll never forget driving through Texas. It was huge and expansive. It was quiet. It was dark. It was mysterious. And for anyone else who’s explored America, you know, it’s a really really weird place. For this podcast, I staged a conversation between two people who are making beautiful work at the intersection of magical realism and Americana: Jake Elliott of Cardboard Computer, the studio behind Kentucky Route Zero; and Joseph Fink, creator of the podcast Welcome To Night Vale. Jake’s approach to mystery made him a perfect pair for Joseph Fink, co-creator the podcast Welcome to Night Vale. It’s about a fictional radio broadcast reporting on the strange events that occur within it. It’s been describer as "caught somewhere between Weird Twitter and 'Tales of the Unexplained'.” -Jamin Warren For more, check us out at Killscreen.com -- Resources: Cardboard Computer | Kentucky Route Zero Welcome to Nightvale Number Stations Credits: Anthony Martinez, producer Nick Sylvester, music -- About Killscreen Killscreen is an arts and culture organization committed to advancing the dialogue and practice of games and play. Founded in 2010, we seek to drive the intersection of games, play, and culture through cross-disciplinary collaboration to show the world why play matters. We want to break down the barriers that have traditionally segregated play and games from other creative disciplines and highlight creators with ambassadorial relationships to the world around us. Follow us: Website, Twitter, Instagram
17:54
August 1, 2020
The Stanley Parable's Davey Wreden on breaking the fourth wall
When people ask what it means to make a game, they typically point to a standard set of devices: points, scores, levels, and so on. It’s rare that story makes the list. And yet, gamemaker Davey Wreden was able to move the medium to new heights with a deep exploration of story in his breakout freshman title The Stanley Parable, a tale of an office worker who veers from the script. With The Beginner’s Guide, Wreden flipped the post-modern switch with a fourth-wall breaking effort that evoked Cervantes and his favorite director Charlie Kaufman. We talked to Wreden about his design process, why games need an emotional core, and why film school isn’t for everybody. -- Resources: + The Stanley Parable + The Beginner's Guide Host: Jamin Warren (@jaminwarren) -- Credits: Anthony Martinez, producer Nick Sylvester, music -- About Killscreen Killscreen is an arts and culture organization committed to advancing the dialogue and practice of games and play. Founded in 2010, we seek to drive the intersection of games, play, and culture through cross-disciplinary collaboration to show the world why play matters. We want to break down the barriers that have traditionally segregated play and games from other creative disciplines and highlight creators with ambassadorial relationships to the world around us. Follow us: Website, Twitter, Instagram
21:06
July 25, 2020
MoMA's Paola Antonelli on thinking of games as design objects
Well, we know what videogames are, but what does it mean to be a videogame designer? I posed this question to Paola Antonelli, a force in the world of modern art. She is currently the Senior Curator of the Department of Architecture & Design as well as the Director of R&D at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. What I love about Paola is how expansive her view of design is.  She pushed the museum to expand design objects like Eames chairs into the digital domain. Under her guidance, they acquired everything from the @ symbol, and typefaces like Helvetica, to the original set of emoji released in Japan in 1999. In 2012, the museum did something different. They selected 14 videogames for their permanent collection. Some games you’ll know. The Sims. Pac-Man. Some games you might not. For example, Passage, Jason Rohrer’s game about life, death, and marriage.  -Jamin Warren -- Resources: + Architecture and Design at MoMA + Applied Design exhibition Host: Jamin Warren (@jaminwarren) -- Credits: Anthony Martinez, producer Nick Sylvester, music -- About Killscreen Killscreen is an arts and culture organization committed to advancing the dialogue and practice of games and play. Founded in 2010, we seek to drive the intersection of games, play, and culture through cross-disciplinary collaboration to show the world why play matters. We want to break down the barriers that have traditionally segregated play and games from other creative disciplines and highlight creators with ambassadorial relationships to the world around us. Follow us: Website, Twitter, Instagram
13:09
July 18, 2020