Architecture with Games in the Title

2019 (HD video, 6:00 min; unity game engine)

Architecture with Games in the Title (2019) is composed of three short films exploring the intersection between spatial memory and architecture within games. The narrative follows an intimate dialogue between two characters as they navigate contemporary labour conditions, using spatial structures to activate an archive of memories.  

In this phantasmagoric space, hues of saffron and ochre bleed through the cracks of an office building set ablaze with flames. While one character seeks to excavate memories from these ruins, the other tries to forget. ‘This building is an archive of disappointment,’ an invisible voice comments. With every economic crisis, waves of unemployed labourers migrate to online spaces in search of work. Likewise, the characters in the film find themselves in a virtual world as players in an arena of gamified labour. Through a process of trial and error, they navigate this highly controlled environment in order to reach their goals. A continual process of failure dictates the invisible architecture of their experience. As they roam through ghostly, ashen rooms a question emerges: who controls this archive?

Produced within unity engine software, the project explores the architectonics of game environments; namely, the way in which virtual structures are made and how this ‘making’ is rendered visible. In Architectonics of Game Spaces, Andri Gerber and Ulrich Götz draw on Kant’s idea that it is impossible for structures to simultaneously exist while being created, resulting in ruins and failure. In this sense, there is always an architecture of failure at play in spatial construction. Extended to the realm of gaming, this failure opens the door for play, for virtual doubles to rewrite rules. In Architecture with Games in the Title, we begin to perceive the unseen architecture that structures our experiences, as well as modes to hack these parameters. 

Text by Tamara Hart