Gaming, Uncanny Realism & Technical Demonstration
Liquid Press/ i-DAT (Plymouth University)
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SwanQuake creates a games world where creatures and characters are motion-captured actors and dancers engaged in creating a new choreographic work. The User Manual opens the project to discursive reflection and expansion through its selection of articles and essays. Videogames are often historicised in terms of their graphics, and more precisely the apparent verisimilitude of the final real-time render. This graphic realism announces the modernity of games technology, while at the same time deepening our reliance on such immediate markers. As a consequence of this fundamental realism the representation of the human figure acquires a special resonance across the various sectors of production, an agreed locus to which the various disciplines converge in the creation of uncanny lifelikeness. Immanent to this uncanny quality of lifelike modelling and animation is a sudden moment of displeasure, as rising fascination gives way to plunging anxiety. Since the synthetic figure then exceeds the familiar categories of animation, caricature and so on, it confronts the viewer with fundamental questions about the sovereignty of the human subject. In videogames culture, the leading character of franchises has become this contested realistic figure, occupying the peculiar space between celebrity and fictional space. Lara Croft in particular has come to define this new brand of extraterrestrial identity, featuring on the cover of lifestyle magazines as much as in videogame worlds. The author brings to bear a historical account of the development of uncanny realism through technological development, arriving at and challenging the assumptions that are made about the apparent puerile simplicity of videogame avatar aesthetics.
SwanQuake: The User Manual, pp.2.4 1-10