May 23rd, 2012 | Published in News
There were several things that fed into the conception of Ludic Proxy, and the ideas behind the show are being refined constantly.
First the title: Game designer Kevin Slavin coined this phrase to describe his experience of having become so intimately familiar with the streets of Tel Aviv from playing the video game Counter Strike that when he found himself in the actual city he experienced what he called “ludic proxy” — or, this phantom architectural knowledge gained from a computer model — which allowed him to “know” to duck into various sidestreets because he knew where they would lead. When Jeanette and I were working on Journey to the Ocean, my husband Irwin was playing a video game called Uncharted 2, in the middle of which was a idyllic scene in an unnamed village in the Himalayas. I wonder whether the village was modeled after an actual place, and what how would someone from that village react to seeing it represented in this video game.
2011 was the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster — and the irony was not lost when the Great Eastern Earthquake hit Japan on 3.11 and the resulting tsunami instigated one of the worst nuclear accidents in the history. Around this time, a friend referred me to a video game called S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2: The Call of Pripyat set (geographically accurately) in the town which housed most of the workers of Chernobyl and was evacuated after April 26. I wondered how long it would be before there would be a video game set in Fukushima.
At MoMA I saw Harun Farocki’s exhibit Images of War (at a distance), a series of video installations examining the relationship between technology and violence. One piece showed footage of video simulators used to train military personnel for combat along side footage of soldiers playing the video simulators in a computer lab. (interesting to note that in the very sophisticated simulators, the “sun” is positioned accurately according to what time it actually is in, say, Afghanistan, and people/objects cast shadows.) Another piece showed how similar video simulation technology was used to treat soldiers who had come back from combat, with PTSD, taking them through to relive moments of trauma (the simulators used for therapy, although employing the same technology as the training simulators, lacks the “sun,” thereby presenting a world without shadows or changing light.)