All of these thoughts mashed and moulded into the idea for Only a Game (?) when I first pitched it to the others. I knew from the start that its scope stretched beyond what could be accomplished during the fellowship. However, I was eager to kickstart the process – in its simplest version – at the very least. And then came along these four incredible artists and technologists who actually wanted to build this together!
The discussions, dialogs, mentor sessions, and every other resource BeFantastic curated for us in the course of this fellowship have been instrumental for us in understanding the scope, limitations, and slippery slopes of developing this project within the context of AI, performing arts, and climate action.
Tanya and Fabian have delved into some of the technical challenges we are encountering so I’d like to write about some conceptual roadblocks and insights we have had. I feel that having five different minds and their diverse perspectives has helped us conceptualize the goals, trajectory, and outcome of the game to reflect what was in our minds as closely as possible. Often, when I have something I’d like to add but have no words to describe it, Fabian would know of a software that could do it! We can rely on David’s input to help us create an immersive soundscape for the game where, I for one, would have been quite lost. Tanya and I share some similarities in our creative vocabulary – in that we both come from backgrounds that involve Bharatanatyam – and are enthusiastic to start working on figuring out what kind of movements can be developed for the gameplay. Tiz has been working on developing the details of the gameplay and the user experience.
One of the things we would like to pay close attention to at this stage of the process is the congruence of the movements with the narrative, the journey we build, and what thoughts we leave the participants with. For me, that involves a mix of research on existing games, climate narratives, hours in a dance studio, and generally thinking about stage design and lighting! Right now, a lot of my work involves transcribing and organizing notes I make into concrete ideas so that the others on the team really know what I have been up to.
This has also been a time when each of us has had unavoidable commitments that keep dragging us away from this work – no matter how much we would want to stick to our schedules! Having four other people on the team ready to pick up the slack is incredibly reassuring.
Only A Game (?) is the product of an artistic collaboration formed during the BeFantastic Within Fellowship, an online programme fostering international connections between creatives in the UK and India, exploring AI technologies and creating provocative performance pieces amplified with creative AI.
As one of the BeFantastic winning commissions, Only A Game (?) will premier March 2023 at the FutureFantastic Festival, an exciting and ambitious new AI+Art festival as part of the British Council’s India Together UK Season of Culture, celebrating the remarkable bond between two countries and exploring our cultures, our shared planet and our relationship with digital technologies that will shape our future together. Conceptualized by Jaaga’s BeFantastic (India), in association with FutureEverything.