Posted by: Billy Durden | December 7, 2010

Take Home Writing Final

Final Writing Assignment

Video game art is an emerging genre where an artist uses modified sections of an original interactive game to repurpose its content. Two works stood out and captured meaning beyond the game’s fictional relevance and stimulate the viewer’s thoughts and emotions when closely examined. Realities begin to surface when artists breakdown these popular scenarios and create concepts that tie into real world. The two artists chosen to analyze works from were John Paul Bichard and Josh Bricker. Originally the two works chosen from them were recent topics of discussion on, which turned me to dig deep into other pieces they have created. The two that stood out work well for this writing assignment because of the nature of their conceptual themes and the way they were used to critique these real world realities. Bichard’s collection “The White Room” (Shown HERE), a series of in-game photographs from the videogame Max Payne 2, which depicts the aftermath of various crime scenes. A great piece, by Bricker, to analyze with “The White Room” was “Post Newtonianism”(On youtube HERE), a video of two panels where one is actual live war footage and the other is live game footage from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.




John Paul Bichard, considered “a Pioneer of in-game photography” by, has worked with video game art, photography, digital media, and installation, since the early nineties. 2D imaging and video games became a major interest of his and influenced prior works he created. He saw that most games followed a similar narrative of a super hero that resolves a conflict. He played a game were an ordinary character becomes the hero. In this game the plot also had turning points, which elicited emotions to the player and related to real life situatuions. This played a role in his work where video games could power strong emotions.

His collection of images titled “The White Room” was created in 2004 for the exhibition “The House in the Middle” featured at Tower Gallery in Eastbourne, England. It was a group show with a conceptual response to post war and class based domestically. Bichard wanted to create a series of photos, which captured interiors of locations in the game where an obvious bloody dispute occurred, and critique the social prejudices in stereotypical games aimed at males. When first observed many questions arise to what happened in this room. A feeling that there needs to be some explanation for the gory scene left empty. Using the game as a virtual studio, the position of killings and objects were carefully placed in the room. The bodies were then removed and the in-game view was then placed and a screen shot was taken. Each image is in a room that is meant to depict a type of social class, and has dark bloodstains splattered throughout it. The rooms contrast each other by color, type of room, quality of furniture, and the objects present. Each image uses this space and blood to provoke the fabrication some kind of story of what may have happened in this room to the viewer. For example, the bright contemporary room and the bedroom will stimulate a scenario completely different from the run downed room with a couch. These images set the social class, or type of people, for the viewer, then they create many ideas of how or what happened in the room based on the social norms of the room’s possible occupant. Along with the scenarios the viewer can generate, emotions can also stimulate from the images.

The six images are constructed very well. The placement of the in-game view to capture the picture shows Bichard’s ability of 2D imaging and composition. The angles formed from where the floor, walls and ceiling meet draw the viewer to look at important locations in the rooms. These angles make the image flow and give it some sort of timeline as the fictional scenario played out. This gives the viewer more stimuli as their mind runs with ideas and questions.

Josh Bricker is an artist devoted to revealing negative truths of humanity through is visual art. The dark aspects of human morality are addressed as way to get people to think about issues of our ridiculously cruel natures that drive people. He works with videos, drawings, paintings, and sculpture, which all point out how absurd an act of people can be.

Bricker recently in May, he put together a video titled “Post Newtonianism” for You Tube and Guggenheim’s You Tube Play. It was one of the 25 selected by You Tube as a finalist. The video is composed of two panels which both play a war scene of an airborne shooter firing at figures on the ground. The statement identifies the one on the left to be a real life video of military aircraft shooting cars, targets, and enemy insurgents from WikiLeaks. The video on the right is captured from the video game Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, and is portraying a similar battle taking place. The audio of the entire video is the actual recordings from real life tapes and is complemented with recordings from the video game. The game audio is noticeable because the voice is in the same tone compared to the many different voices in the in the real life recordings. The game audio begins to only be mixed in after long periods of the real audio, but as the video progresses, the periods of time become shorter and the game audio appears more frequently.

Bricker wanted to show the war in the Middle East as his generation has witnessed and interacted with it. The real life video shows that technology in warfare as come so far that our soldiers don’t have to confront the enemies face to face. The video game complements this by giving the real life video a sense of not being a real event. It makes the taking of these people’s lives seem virtual because it is all done through a screen at a distance. This cruel, inhumane action plays out to the person committing it very differently than if seen through their actual eyes not at a far distance. There is also a lack of insurance of the target the guns are firing upon. The remarks from the voices in the audio describes targets as just having a gun or are walking around before ask permission to engage. There is no way of telling if it really is an enemy when describe in vague terms. The mixing of the audio has the biggest impact on me. The first time the video game’s audio comes in, it gives permission to fire at targets when a person asks in the real life audio. It really gives the impression of being surreal. The next thing that happens in the audio is the video game saying remarks like “light ‘em up”, “nail ‘em”, and “nice”, about the killing of people. Then the next clip of real audio has remarks similar to the game and even some that are worse. As the video progresses the intertwining of the two audios start sounding the same. Both clips then begin to describe the targets as if they were slaughtering animals. Never once was a target referred to as a person. The complement of the game reveals this truth of the killing the insurgents has a surreal impact, and shadows that people are losing their life.

When these two works are compared to each other they have both similarities and differences. In both the viewer becomes a witness, but in different ways. In “The White Room” this witness feeling is stimulated by the crime like scene that the absence of bodies give the image. The viewer becomes the witness when they begin to create scenarios of what could have happened in the room without ever seeing any event. Any thoughts of ways people may decide to, or act in the situation of taking life is completely created by them. Someone could just have a simple thought of the image like “a death occurred in this room”, or a more complex thought like “ a man, was in his bathroom when his wife betrayed him and murdered him in their bedroom”. The viewer can reach a self-awareness when cruel inhumane thoughts are expressed from this. When “Post Newtonianism” is being watched, the viewer witnesses two events occurring. In whole, inhumane realities are pushed at them from how good the two panels and audio work together. The truths revealed in these works arise from the viewer and the content in the work itself. The use of video games in both of these pieces helps to bring out the truths of humanity because it’s a simulation of our world that has no real consequence.




Posted by: Billy Durden | December 7, 2010

Lecture: Matteo Bittanti

Lecture: Matteo Bittanti

Before this lecture I had a very little knowledge of video game art. I have quit playing video games and only know most new games from the glimpses I’ve seen while my roommates play them in their rooms. Also the only prior game art I’ve also really ever seen is the machinima on the Game Stop commercials promoting pre-ordering of newly released games. I was hooked from the start when he began to go over works of art by himself and other artists. Also his reasoning of why he does what he does as a “career” had an impact to more than just digital media, but relates to people our age.

The first works he showed were photo manipulations of screen shots taken in video games. His recreations of the Obama add campaigns brought a lot of humor. The contrast of the sports car driving under an add for Obama, and the war scene which had the campaign logo on a wall showed many ways that these manipulations can work to bring out humor. Another funny piece was the video of Street Fighter that he put in extreme slow motion, gave another way to look at this game. He then went on to explain the “slow-mo” manipulation of these very rapid games which gives a humorous let down to people who are familiar to their fast pace. The one video he showed us that didn’t quite fit his humorous and fun works was Bruno. He didn’t give any description of it at first so as the video played I thought it was going to be another fast paced game with the let down from being played so slow. The game he used was a parkour type style, which he directed the character to look around and walk slowly for about 10 minutes it seemed like. Then the character jumped off the side of a building. Everyone kinda chuckled at the end. Matteo then told everyone that this was a recreation his friends suicide. The creation of this event in a video game made you see his death very different and after being informed of the nature of the video made you think of maybe what was going through his mind when he was on top of the building. Matteo gave his input to this and other videos that use game art to surface realities about human truths.

The final part of the lecture Matteo discussed how he got into this profession and art. I enjoyed this the most because it seemed very genuine. He says all his interests and hobbies sculpted him to create things from mediums he was involved in. When he creates art that is manipulations he puts it in the past and moves on because he enjoyed the process. He thinks that he shouldn’t benefit or profit from these works that stem from other people’s own material. His look on putting interests in all aspects of life, for example making games of things that are boring. He showed how he has incorporated fitness to this by his ipod recording how far he walks and jogs, then sharing the results online to compete with his friends. Everything about this lecture was a very positive outlook on how video game art can portray real life.


Posted by: Billy Durden | December 7, 2010

Final Projects

“Assignments”: Learning to Love You More-

#40- Heal yourself. (I altered my owe version of this assigment)

The original version of this assignment asks for a way you have healed yourself in the past, but I have altered my response to this as if I could heal a present injury. My version is more like a fictional fairytale to avoid surgery and have my body heal itself.  I recently went to the doctor about my shoulder that hasn’t healed completely from a fall skiing. I was told I need surgery and that if I got it done before the year was over the cost would be significantly lower. So my surgery was scheduled for right after finals and now I have to miss the rest of the ski season. My version os this assignment would be cool to think of all the ways I could non-traditionally heal myself, because there is no way to heal torn and missing ligaments without surgery. If I could heal myself I would want to discover a eco-friendly method to stimulate the growth and repair of connective tissue. There is almost no real way to do this because these cells don’t have the blood supply to required for the synthesis of new tissue. So I would seek out some consumable plant that would program the cells to repair themselves to grow new ligaments and position my shoulder back to its normal postition. Here are my really x-rays to show the movement.

#11- Photograph a scar and write about it.

This scar is the most important to me. It is the incision mark from where my patella tendon was partially removed and relocated as my new anterior cruciate ligament (ACL). I tore my ACL skiing the first week of skiing four years ago. I went off a jump and landed with my weight on the back of my skis. I heard a loud “pop” and then felt the worst pain ever. After about 2 hours the pain mostly went awake and felt tender for a few day after. I went to the doctor the next week and found out I had torn my ACL. A month later this scar was formed when I went in for my reconstruction of the ligaments. I always see it as the best bad thing that ever happened to me because it made me see so many things I had never thought about. Being away from physical activity and the things I loved gave me more appreciation for them. I gained mental endurance and determination from the recovery of this accident as well. It was 8 months of, at first, painful and hard work to get back to skiing and my senior year of football. One of the biggest things I got from this was seeing the field of career I wanted to go into. Hours of being at the hospital and physical therapy led me to a great interest in orthopedics. Below are some photos of the surgery while the incision was opened up.

#10- Make a flier about your day.

The day I chose was November 29, 2010. It is significant to me because it was my birthday. The day covered all aspects of where I spend most of my time and a few of the things I enjoy. I wanted to give it the feeling of the fliers for concerts and local events at clubs I walk by everyday going to school. To think about one of these fliers having someones day on it in would be really humorous.

The Johnny Cash Project:


I wanted to initially do this as part of my project because my cousin is married to Johnny Cash’s nephew. She took on the last name of cash as well. I chose to illustrate this frame because the overall composition gave an impression of grandeur to Cash’s image. I wanted to try to recreate the image as closely as I could with out altering or adding too much to the original to keep this impression in my creation. The hand in the foreground is huge compared with the background, which is all very distant. Also his finger blocks some of the sun and creates lens flare. Both of these add to Cash’s larger than life character. 

Posted by: Billy Durden | November 9, 2010

Infomercial Project: Height Extender

The infomercial for our Chindogu. SLEEK, STYLEISH, DYNAMICALLY DESIGNED!

Andrew, Amanda, and I, had a fun time making this video!

Posted by: Billy Durden | November 2, 2010

Chindogu Project

Posted by: Billy Durden | September 29, 2010

Animation Assignment




Animation Assignment:

My original .psd files were deleted, so i used the final .jpg versions and cut the objects back out. I made the manatee appear as if it was swimming and the heron sway with the fish in its mouth as if he was fighting to swallow it.

Posted by: Billy Durden | September 20, 2010

Assingment #2

Post Cards:

In this project I wanted to use the separate photos together to give the impression of post cards. In some cheesy post cards of tourist locations it seems like the creator tries to cram as many images of things that are unique to that area. This also happens with souvenirs that are sold in these vacation spots.  I wanted to give a landscape and an object this feeling in each image. The images were used either stuffed together as a picture on an object or placed in the landscape. When all three are together (vertically) it gives the feeling of the type of post cards that are connected and folded so they can be torn off.

Posted by: Billy Durden | September 20, 2010

Assignment #1


Using the guidelines of photo-collage, I started the piece off with a printed image of two giraffes under a tree. The concept I was shooting at was to take a picture of wildlife and use the photos and text to urbanize the scene as if they were in a city zoo. I used text from magazines between each photo to give a strong presence of people. Clips of buildings and structures were placed together to make skyscrapers. The strips of photos were added to the front of the scene to make the impression of a cage. I feel that the use of photos and text were a great way to transform the original image of nature, to the exact opposite of an enclosed area in a city.