He connects three places: the alien zones in Roadside Picnic, the decaying landscape in Andrei Tarkovsky's Stalker and the very real exclusion zone around Chernobyl, which has been, itself, turned into a decaying, alienating zone in the video game STALKER (which I have yet to play).
The production team at GSC Gameworld, a games studio based in nearby Kiev, intended to use the derelict zone as the basis for environments in their action shooter, STALKER: Shadow Of Chernobyl. The team went into the zone and photographed urban dereliction: a snapshot of an abandoned Soviet Union. They would go on to fill their game world with the zone's rusting fences and collapsing grain silos, but that was not all that came with the material: the landscape and its decaying architecture was already charged with mythology—with narrative.
The game references both Chernobyl as well as Stalker (the film); a film that, as I only realised through this article, was made way before the actual Chernobyl disaster. Yet, strangely enough, foreshadowed it in a rather scary way.
Tarkovsky's film manages to imbue derelict industrial landscapes with a terrible sense of threat.
I'm pretty sure I stumbled over this story before, but this is a longer article about the scientist that tried to weight the human soul:
That the human body should be home to a physical soul which survived death was at one time rarely questioned. Then came the advent of scientific disciplines such as anatomy, chemistry and physics, whose probing and measuring raised awkward questions about where in the body a soul could live and what physical form it could take. With no medical proof being forthcoming, in 1854 the German anatomist Rudolph Wagner suggested that there must be a “special soul substance” in the body, evidence of which should be sought out by experimentation. Wagner was much ridiculed for his beliefs, and some years later his rival Ernst Haeckel mocked that at the moment of death it might be possible to liquefy the soul by freezing it and then “exhibit it in a bottle as immortal fluid”.
The nature of a human soul was a much-discussed topic within Victorian psychical research communities, many of whose members were also eminent scientists. Different philosophical conclusions were reached, but none was based on empirical evidence, it being deemed too difficult to measure any of the soul’s presumed physical properties. However, not everyone was prepared to accept this, and in the winter of 1896 Dr Duncan MacDougall, a Massachusetts-based surgeon, came up with a novel idea.
Not that I would be able to attend the show, but this is still a good moment to point to Alex CF, who creates an alternate history of the 19th century through artefacts: exactly those of the kind scientists and explorers would track down in the farthest regions of the earth, bring them home an add the to their collections of curiosities, which have been en vogue these days.
Now, why an alternate history? Because Alex CF creates still-born dragons, mummified demons and dead werewolves that could have jumped out of a story by HP Lovecraft; it is cryptozoology in its best form.
Not only are the objects gorgeous, they also come with a complete background story wrapped around them: how they were obtained, what they are exactly, where they come from – and more often than not with accompanying notes and tools.
This, in my opinion, is true artistry. It's imaginative, and it's skilfully executed. These are objects my own imagination can spark itself on.
Designed by Christophe Berg with artwork by Liselore Goedhart, Game Seeds is a unique meta game:
Game Seeds is a card game designed to spice up your brainstorm sessions on Character and Game Design.
Game Seeds are wild free-spirited tiny creatures that you can play with, combine, hack and get inspired by to bring new characters and game ideas to life.
The object of Game Seeds: design a Hero, design a Sidekick and design a Game by playing with a deck of cards.
Game Seeds has been commissioned by the Utrecht School of Arts. More infos and Pictures can be found on Liselore Goedhardt's website, which is worth a visit on its own – there are beautiful illustrations.
Auriea Harvey and Michaël Samyn are new media artists who have embraced realtime 3D game technology as their artistic medium of choice. Realtime 3D is the most remarkable new creative technology since oil on canvas. It is much too important to be wasted on computer games alone. This manifesto is a call-to-arms for creative people (including, but not limited to, video game designers and fine artists) to embrace this new medium and start realizing its enormous potential. As well as a set of guidelines that express our own ideas and ideals about using the technology.