New for Old Machinima

The medium of machinima is to be celebrated at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York in Saturday 12th November with 2005 Machinima Film Festival. The event is being sponsored by the MOMI and the The Academy of Machinima Arts & Sciences.

Thinking about such an event brought me to the idea that it is the continuation of an alignment of machinima with older established Film discourse and the Cinematic Mode of Production generally. So, just for the heck (hack??) of it, what would be the alternatives? What could be a new way of presenting a flow of visual images synchronised with sound in a story telling environment that could not be discussed, critiqued or produced along the lines of Hollywood style dream (sleep) production? This has been bouncing around in my head since yesterday and I came up with a couple of possibilities.

Perhaps the most obvious is Art. But then what exactly does Art have to offer story telling in a film-like (a degree of difference stressed here) setting that has not been already done to death? The answer: Mathew Barney. I have seen some of the Cremaster Cycle of Barney’s films and really they seem to make little sense on a narrative level but they sure do tell stories. Each one tells hundreds of stories and never the same one twice. This cloud like production around multimedia would suit machinima where rules of physics, time, space and the sensual body do not apply.

The second source of aberrant inspiration in regard to machinima’s future is La Fura del Baus (‘The Fury of the Sewer Rats’), the Catalonian performance group who state on their website:

Digital theatre is the addition of actors and 0 and 1 bits moving in the net.
Actors in digital theatre may interact from different times and places… The actions of two actors in two different times and places coincide in the network of infinite times and virtual spaces.
On the 21st century, geneticist conception of theatre (from the generation to the birth of the scene) will be replaced by an organization of interactive and intercultural activities.
Digital theatre refers to a binary language connecting the organic with the inorganic, the material with the virtual, the actor in the flesh with the avatar, the present audience with the internet users, the physical stage with the cyberspace.”

In machinima we have a new medium for expression which requires new approaches such as these two (there are many more no doubt).
Why should there be an avoidance of reconstructing machinima purely as a new film making technique?
Because with new tools come new possibilities. It would be a shame if this opportunity passed us by.