This year for its ten edition, Gamerz is absolutely cracking the maze! Super cool program and great artists, I love it. And I am so happy to be inside the Vasarely foundation this year to present three machinima/artworks created by great artists: Angela Washko, Anita Fontaine and Georgie Roxby Smith.
Machinigirrlzzz is an exhibition of machinimas (movies created through video games), made by women only. The choice of the title Machinigirrlzzz was dictated by the will to question the notions of feminism and gender in video games. Feminism is still an issue in France, a particularly touchy and ongoing subjet in a country where remained in 2014 a 20 % salary difference between men and women on average.
The question of gender is also ongoing in the world of video games. In 2013, Mar_lard raised public awareness on the matter, by publishing a quasi expansive census of all sexist attacks done against women in the world of video games. The census was in turn taken by the French TV programme Arrêt sur Images, in partnership with the French magazine Canard PC, which front-paged with the headline “Are video games sexist ?“, soon followed by the website jeuxvideo. com, with a special dossier dedicated to the unequal treatment of male and female characters in vidéo games.
These specialized media recognized and related big sexism problems in the very manly world of vidéo games where one player out of two is a woman.
Machinigirrlzzz thus chose the American artist Angela Washko, well-known for her feminist actions inside video games such as in World of Warcraft. In the video At the Expense of Watching, taken from the series “Free will mode”, she questions the I.A freedom of action of video games’ characters. How to escape from dedicated spaces? How to develop autonomous behaviours? Beyond the question of characters’ A.I is also the question of the players’ freedom of thought and action.
Georgie Roxby Smith, Australian artist, also develops a strong feminist work. 99 Problems is an action taking place Inside the online GTA game, which hints at the violence undergone by female characters in video games. The suicide attempt of a woman is repeated over and over again, with total indifference of the other characters and players around. 99 Problems tries to remind us of this violence against women, be it in the virtual or the real world.
Daughter, a video realized inside The Sims by Anita Fontaine, questions video games characters individual freedom, as well as that of the player himself. Ten years after, what has happened to the characters of this artistic experiment trying to create a family on determined features ? Daughter shows as a result a looping character unable to escape its own behavioural features. Machinimas can help us develop critical thought on video games while being at the same time inside the medium itself.