Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Concept Development

PROJECT BRIEF | Space + Environment
Dimension, Proximity, Depth, Perception, Aesthetics, Composition, Navigation, Paths, Connections, Parameters, Planes, Grids, Directionality, Interaction, Mood, Metaphor, Symbol, Landscape, Narrative, Immersence, Organic, Algorithmic.

Space is one of the defining elements of digital media; artists must engage with the issue of spatiality, and are challenged by creating a sense of environment within the theoretical space of the computer. Designer and educator, Muriel Cooper, described "..landscape [as] an environment for information." Animation, Interactive art and Computer games must all, on some level, consider spatial representation and negotiation. They must all establish an environment that is a believable world, context or framework influenced by its own rules of parameters and object interaction.

Space within digital media, has many varied manifestations and may be approached on a basic level, as with the notion of space implied by web based hyperlink text and the non-sequential possibilities it poses, to the more complex ideas of representing space in a 2d or 3d environment; navigation of this space is pivotal to the representation, whether that be in the form of scrolling navigation, portal navigation or navigation into the planes of virtual algorithmic space.

American Media Scholar, Henry Jenkins, advocates the notion of 'narrative architecture' when approaching spatial storytelling, particularly within the 3D space of game design. Story and environment are inherit to both linear and interactive works; space may be used as a vehicle for storytelling, or merely a backdrop, where there is little or no interaction between the space and the viewer. The aesthetic treatment of space and environment may be used to embed narratives, imply narrative concepts or imply genre. Digital space may be used to reference real space, or conversely, to construct a world that is autonomous, with it's own sets of logic and conditions.

Explore the potential of the representation of space and environment to convey meaning and narrative in an animated or interactive workUse the term narrative loosely; you may simply want to evoke the process of 'meaning-making' and explore notions of semiotics within your piece. 

Interactive responses will need to consider the varied methods of spatial representation; it may be useful to look at the way Georgia Leigh McGregor identifies spatial environment in Videogames and use these as a starting point for the focus of your piece. There are many ways that space can inform gameplay or narrative by challenging a player, creating obstacles and directly influencing the actions and behaviours of a player or viewer. You may want to focus on the negotioation of a space, wherein the environment and means of navigation pose a challenge to the viewer or player.

Animated/Linear responses need to address how space may be aesthetically constructed and portrayed, and how, in turn, environment can articulate narrative. It may be useful to think about the way Jean Baudrillard discusses the use of images, signs and symbols and their culmination in a simulation of reality. Consider his ideas of perceived reality and how we can either embrace or pervert notions of symbolism and metaphor to manipulate a viewers experience.

In both interactive and linear works, you will need to consider the temporal behaviours of your piece. Navigation of a space takes time, the amount of time will dictate a viewers perception of the space and its dimensions. Examine the way temporal navigation of space may be used to heighten a viewers experience; difficult navigation of space may lead to frustrated gameplay or browsing, however this frustration could be the vehicle for an installation piece that explores our perception of space and our abilities to project ourselves into that environment.

Sound needs to be used in a way that enhances the space it originates from, remembering that Humans use their sense of hearing to understand space. Sound works together with the other senses to help people navigate and construct understanding of forms, objects and distances. You may want to consider what happens to space beyond physics and explore the notion of designing a space strictly based on sound quality. Sound presents an opportunity to explore space via our auditory senses, evoking emotions and feelings, and exploiting an additional dimension in order to create meaning.

The chosen media is up to you.

Linear submissions need to be quicktime movies at 25 fps, 1280x720, audio at 44.100 kHz.

Interactive submissions will have varying formats/technologies, but where possible use the linear specifications.

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