Bubblebust! A Game about Bits, Bytes and Fragments in 2018
AA Summer School 2018 | Unit 6
Bubbleverse (The World in 2018: Hi-Res, yet without us) Bubbleverse is the World in 2018, a Bubble of Bubbles: extremely large or microscopically small, iridescent spheres floating out of a bubble machine that we have built too well. (1) In Bubbleverse small bubbles pop fast: news and trends, pics and home made videos, memes and vines, adds, posts and links, faces of familiar people and Youtube one-hit-wonders, flowing chaotically through networks of platforms that we follow, sign-up or subscribe to. (2)
In Bubbleverse large bubbles engulf us, and never seem to pop: filter bubbles and cultural bubbles, institutional bubbles and belief bubbles, art market, real estate and financial bubbles. (3) In Bubbleverse, bubbles proliferate, intersect, disappear and reappear: a pop star becomes a meme while a meme makes it to Coachella (4), a luxury bag becomes art while art becomes activism and protest. (5) In Bubbleverse .jpegs become objects (6), truths become lies, histories rewrite. Its form is constantly morphing, between cab rides and point systems, Universities and URLs.
In Bubbleverse, we are bubbles among bubbles, each at the center of our own 360 World pictures, streaming chaotically out of a bubble machine, which has now outsmarted us- In Bubbleverse, we see in Bubble Vision. In BubbleVerse we have gained resolution: from selfies to little-planet-selfie modes. (7) So have our desires, fantasies and weaknesses: from cinema screens, to personal screens and VR experiences; our Instagram feeds: from single images to series and stories; our Facebook posts: from one minute ago to live streams. Our routines: from panning and clicking to yawing, pitching and rolling in circles, endlessly. (8)
Bubbleverse has us at the center, yet we are slowly disappearing: we use iMacs, iPads, iPhones, we repair them at iSmash, we watch iPlayers and use iWork, we iDate.co.uk and we iStudy.org - but in the process we are transformed into code-fleshed scripts. In Bubbleverse, our skins become filters, our presence becomes a geo-location, our curiosities, hidden pleasures, interests and beliefs become datasets, stored in servers, mined and sold as assets. In Bubbleverse we are at best the half-bunnies we selfie-snap. At worse, we are not there at all: when looking up and down and left and right through our headsets, our bodies are not there. (9)
Bubbleverse is the World in 2018: a digi-real space, inhabited by pixel-peach-fleshed actors, timed through systems of timescales that constantly wind and rewind. Bubble verse is our Hi- Res World, yet our bodies are in pieces. Withdrawn and dismembered, hidden behind our avatars and fake profiles, floating at the center of our own kaleidoscopic bubbles, we are orchestrating our own disintegration while directing our own performances – yet, we are somehow always late for the show.
Bubblebuster (The Architect in 2018: Low-Res, yet here and now) The Bubblebuster is (for now) “Man Scan 1”: a naked asset, a skin of meshes, a scan of a real man, waiting to perform. (10)
Once performing, the Bubblebuster will be The Architect in 2018: A character-player, a half-avatar, a digi-real renaissance man-woman-action figure: The Bubblebuster will be a collector, a surveyor, a poet or scientist, a low-res superhero of the Bubbleverse. The Bubblebuster will design a project for the Bubbleverse: it will draw a map and build a landscape, it will recompose and stitch, it will design bridges, forests, mazes and tunnels, enfilades and portals between slowmo, flattened bubble skins.
Bubblebust (Project for the Bubbleverse: A low-res game, with us there)
In three weeks, we will be designing a low-res game, its map and its protagonist. A Bubblebust is the careful flattening of a number of bubble skins, from iridescent sphere to worlds and landscapes that rearrange and recompose (11), stitched together in between real news and digital tools, in a map of the Bubbleverse that can be traced, a landscape that can be explored, an event with us there. A Bubblebust means seeing the World and its architectures as a point of departure into many games, versions of bubbles, all deeply intertwined with one another.We will test tools of game design and find their application with the Architects’ world, defining and exploring a practice beyond representation. We will use the space of the game as the very site or landscape in which our individual bubbles may coexist. Within the game, we will be able to explore, journey, learn and create beyond the boundaries and constraints of the Bubbleverse, as we know it. For three weeks, we will jump between Bubbleverse tools: we will write, archive and collect (12), we will download assets and screen capture screens(13), we will draw maps and build real digi-worlds, between pens and controllers, notes and game engines. Through group seminars, debates and focused skill-based workshops, through individual working and collective reworking, in a constant shuffling of scales, ideas and ourselves, we will plan, design and orchestrate the Bubblebust.
Bubblebust Plan (A Three Week plan for desigining the Bust of the Bubbleverse) Week 1: Bubblebuster 11.
In the first week, we will collectively build the Bubblebuster. We will commence with a Faceshift scanning ritual (14): one by one, you will become points and meshes, transforming into your digi-real selves. Meanwhile, you will individually start thinking of possible missions, challenges, agencies that the Bubblebuster might take on, on behalf of you: is the Buster a surveyor, a scientist or a blogger? Does the Buster archive, code, write or draw? You will subsequently embody the Bubblebuster collectively. Equipped with the necessary tools and skills, the Bubblebuster will be able to intervene at various scales, photographed, imagined, written or drawn. The Bubblebuster will then be dressed, morphed, and ready to be there: He will present himself and his missions as a Buster of the Bubbleverse, in a MoCap live performance at the Interim Review. (15) Week 2: Bubbleverse In the first couple of days, you will use your own piece of the Bubblebuster to build and inspect your very own Bubbleverse. In order for this to be possible, we will begin by discovering our individual bubbles, collecting, presenting, shuffling and assembling elements, working individually yet together in a common ground.
We will begin by designing the level of our own bubble within the Bubbleverse. We will start by drawing our own bubble maps by recombin data, objects and pictures; we will be pinning up and pinning down, moving left and right, scrapping and discovering. Ranging from libraries of images, obsessive collections or a city of memes, our individual bubbles will be unique and distinct. (16) You will be introduced to the tools of game engines. In a 3 day Bubbleverse building session, you will lean the space of Unreal Engine to translate your elements into digital assets: you will scavenge for assets on Sketchfab, 3dwarehouse, you will download and digi-atlas your digi-bubble and by the end, we would have designed our very own Bubbleverse game: a place we can revisit and endlessly re-experience. (17) Week 3: Bubblebust! In the last week, you will Bubblebust your Bubbles. Your maps will be recombined and recomposed through collective debates, design sessions and fights. You will start thinking about hierarchies, multi-linear narratives and game trees in Bubblebust Workshops. (18)
For the last half of the week, we will have intensive collective sessions of Bubblebusting: you will continue with skill-based sessions in Unreal Engine to imagine textures, natures, universes in which you bubbles might be restitched. You will decide what is the project for a flattened Bubbleverse: is it a bridge, an institution, an event? You will create a Bubbleverse Map, a re-composition of bubbles, threaded by half real half digital narratives, spaces and inhabitants. You will create a community of Bubbles, designed, threaded, multilayered. (19)
The Bubblebuster will present the Bubblebust. On behalf of all of you, he will explore, stop, examine, turn around, fly, circulate through spaces of the Bubbleverse Map. The Architect Player Character, a collection of fragments of you, will reveal a low res game: with all of us there, replaying again and again the bits, bytes and fragments of 2018. (20)
Bubbles To Read
BitRot, Douglas Coupland; Wasting Time on the Internet, Kenneth Goldsmith; Emissaries- Guide to Worlding, Ian Cheng; Understanding Media, Marshall McLuchan; Ready Player One, Ernest Cline; What is Different, Wolfgang Tillmans; Cyberreader: Critical Writings for the Digital Era, Neil Spiller. To See Serious Games, Harun Farocki; Ribbons, Ed Atkins; Geomancer, Lawrence Lek; How Not to be Seen: A Fucking Didatic Educational. Mov File, Hito Steyerl; BOB, Ian Cheng; Zornâ€™s Lemma, Hollis Frampton; Annlee, Liam Gillick, Philippe Parreno, Pierre Huyghe, Alex Da Corte, Eminem.
Bubble tools 20.
Real: Cameras, notepads, pens, post-its, glue sticks, paper; Digital: Rhino, Unreal Engine, FaceShift, Substance Painter, Fuse, Daz3d; Web: sketchfab.com, turbosquid.com, cgtrader.com, free3d.com, grabcad.com
Unit space Set-up
Bubblebuster Phase 1
Bubblebuster Phase 2
Bubblebuster Phase 3
Bubbleverse Phase 1
AA Tour and Inductions
!!! LONDON DAY OUT !!!
(Intro to Bubbleverse)
!! 18:00 FORMAT !! Evening
! Drinks ! + (quick) Unit Meeting
!! 18:00 FORMAT !!
Itinerary TBC FREE
! Unit dinner and drinks !
Bubbleverse Phase 2
!!!!! 10:00 - 17:00 !!!!
!! 10:30 AA Student Work Presentations !!
Bubbleverse Phase 3
Bubbleverse Phase 3
Bubbleverse Phase 3 FREE
INTERIM REVIEW !! BLOOMSBURY TRIP !!
Rehearsals + Review Set-up
!! 18:00 FORMAT !!
!!!! Unit Pin-Up !!!!
!! 18:00 FORMAT !!
! Unit dinner and drinks !
!!!!! 10:00 - 17:00 !!!!!
FINAL REVIEW Bubblebust Map
Rehearsals + Review Set-up
Bubble Bios Ana and Sebastian graduated from the AA this year. Here they produced work about virtual imprisonment and digital natures while writing about thresholds of resolution and .jpeg networks. They both share an interest in discovering ways of practice and representation that challenge current methods, working together on a range of projects that use tools borrowed from game design, animation and computer science. Some work at www.anaandsebastian.com
Bubble Pictures 1. Billion Bubble Machine, 2. Tag a friend and say nothing Meme, 3. Filterbubbles, 4. Yodelboy at Coachella, 5. Louis Vuitton x Jeff Koons, 6. Kimoji Butt Charger, 7. Little Planet Effect, 8. VR head movements, 9. Hand in VR, 10. Man Scan 1, 11. Bubblebust in slow-mo, 12. Soane Museum Collection, 13. sketchfab.com assets, 14. Faceshift, 15. Adobe Fuse, 16. Garden of Emoji Delights, Carla Gannis,17. RMB City, Second Life, 18. Mission Game Tree Score, 19. Second Life Map, 20. Mass Multiplayer Game Event.
AA Summer School Ana Nicolaescu and Sebastian Tiew 2-20 July 2018 Bubblebust!