Can \’high tech\’ game spaces, often violent, cold, or impersonal, lead to the inverse: an experience which communicates personal stories? [domestic] is an artist\’s computer game which explores visual and interactive ways of depicting personal spaces and memory. A mix of photographic images and text layer the environment to reframe the act of memory, specifically, of childhood experience intersecting with spatial, temporal, and visual conventions in game spaces. As an artist?s computer game modification, [domestic] breaks visual conventions by creating a claustrophobic, conceptual environment in which images take on iconic readings. The picturesque family snapshot, for example, is mingled with the crisp square framework of computer game level geometry, creating a particular sense of scale and abstracted sense of space. A mix of photographic images and unstable texts layer the environment to reframe the act of memory, specifically, of childhood experience intersecting with spatial, temporal, and visual conventions within an interactive environment. Because the game is built in the Unreal Tournament 2003 engine, there is an anxiety produced between traditional 3D action play and the exploratory nature of the [domestic] experience, as well as a tension generated between popular 3D games’ post industrial spaces and the more abstract home space created in [domestic].
Mary Flanagan is an inventor-designer-activist in New York City and leads the Tiltfactor research group at Hunter College in New York City. Flanagan’s artwork has been shown internationally at venues including the Whitney Museum of American Art, SIGGRAPH, Ars Electronica, the Guggenheim, and other international venues. Her essays on digital art and gaming have appeared in many periodicals and books including Art Journal and Wide Angle. Her books include Reload: Rethinking Women + Cyberculture (MIT Press 2002), the co-written book Similitudini. Simboli. Simulacri (SIMilarities, Symbols, Simulacra) in Italian (Unicopli, 2003), and reskin (forthcoming, MIT Press). She is the creator of “The Adventures of Josie True,” the first internet adventure game for girls, and is co-founder of Rapunsel, a research project to teach girls programming (http://www.rapunsel.org).