Hyper War art
Personal Cinema & Collaborators
Videogames can be either media or games. But sometimes they can be both. As media, they may carry an idea from one place to another. As games, they establish a set of conditions within which humans play. Any meaning or message that comes out of the game is generated by the players, and was not necessarily enclosed in the game's original design.
The Banoptikon videogame project, is related to a broader E.U research program, MIG@NET that searches and examines different aspects of current migrational politics and the issues that are generated from the power relations between migrants, “locals” and authorities, which are weaving and constructing the European canvas of this new struggle field. The central axe of this struggle concerns the digitalization process of migration flows and consequently, the transformations that occur to the different actors and the urban territories.
The game examines different forms of relations between these actors (migrants, “inhabitants”, power structures etc.) in different urban or semi-urban environments. e.g. A Border Zone, Athens centre, a detention camp, a harbor, a European capital. The game shows the passage from the city, conceptualized as a cell, which in racist rhetoric, across many European cities, is seen as being invaded by alien and hostile forces, to something else that corresponds better to the reality of events. It appears that the centre is no longer a cell (if it ever was) but an interconnected network of mobilities. We face a move from the cell to the network: The digitalization of migration in Athens is such an example. Furthermore, the game describes the transformations through digitalization as a means of centralized control, in such areas as the harbors. (Patras, Igoumenitsa)
Considering that migration is primarily an unbounded social movement, the game simulates this situation within a larger terrain of flows and mobilities. As an example, the physical presence of a large number of migrants in Athens does not imply stasis or a somehow bounded space characterized by special social conditions. Intercultural conflict and dialogue as well as social movements are related with the migrational issues for both migrants and “locals” and they are structured –although sometimes ephemeral- parts of the flows. As an example, migration in the city is not centered but involves different types of technologies of mobility, dispersed within and outside the Athenian boundaries.
In addition, the gameplay examines cases of complicity between the strategies of surveillance and control and the strategies of mobility deployed by the migrants. The migrants -as well as the inhabitants of the cities- are also part of the information and control continuum. The borders of Europe -as a woman migrant described- are not found only in the geographical borders but mainly inside cities as Athens. It is true that the European border is constantly externalized and deterritorialized by control technologies, but it is also pushed by migrant movements. As migrants embody the border in the tips of their fingers (through the Eurodac digital fingerprinting) and at the same time transgress it, they re-territorialize the border, and they push it back, deeper into the European territory – into the Schengen area, or into cities. (As Athens or the Euro-city of the game)
The videogame Banoptikon has been under development since January 2010, and will be completed by April 2013.The project-as mentioned -is part of the E.U research program MIG@NET, coordinated by Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences (UPSPS), Centre for Gender Studies and includes partners from seven European countries as: University of Bologna, Department of Politics, Institutions and History, Symfiliosi (SYM), Cyprus, Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme (FMSH), Paris, University of Hamburg, Institute for Sociology (UHH), Utrecht University, Department of Media and Culture Studies/ Graduate Gender Programme (UU), The Peace Institute, Institute for Contemporary Social and Political Studies (PI), Ljubljana, University of Hull, Department of Humanities, UK.
The game is designed – up to now - as online single-user 3D videogame and will include video, sound recordings, web pages, photography and texts, in a playful form.
The working team of Banoptikon is the Personal Cinema collective (www.personalcinema.org ): Yannis Skoulidas (artist-programmer), Ilias Marmaras (media artist), Xenia Koliofoti ( scriptco-writer and editor) Daphne Dragona (New Media curator) and the collaborators, Dimitris Fotiou (sculptor-3D designer) and Alex Salapatas (programmer).