I’ve found myself thinking a lot about gamepoems lately, so this month’s piece is a cycle of gamepoems with some minimal audiovisual interaction. Each (real-world) day you run it will give you a different poem; a different bird to be, with its own set of rules and concerns. Heavily inspired by Avery Alder’s Brave Sparrow, though with a far narrower focus.
I had big plans to write a different poem for every day of the month (to ensure that it would take you a while to see all of them), but I got part way through and then remembered that I hate writing. Writing is the worst. In the end I managed just 7. The poems themselves are just text files though, so you can easily add more if that’s a thing that appeals?
Controls: escape: quit; move mouse: next line
The file at this link will be deleted 1 month from now (04/01/20).
All downloads are zipfiles containing a Windows executable.
As long as you abide by those licenses, you can do whatever you want with the download.
I watched Aluna this month, and did not like it. The presenter/director is incredibly condescending towards the people who are supposedly the subject of the film and refuses to listen to them until another white englishman comes along and points out that yes, what they’re saying is backed up by decades of scientific research, a lot of it is basic common sense, in fact we teach primary school children about the water cycle, did you do literally no research before you started filming? (I’m paraphrasing hugely, but man, this film infuriated me)
Anyway, watching the Kogi people trying desperately to communicate with an outside world that consistently, wilfully, misinterprets and ignores them got me thinking about Ted Chiang’s short story The Truth of Fact, The Truth of Feeling again (find it in the collection Exhalation). Which is all about colonisation, and different forms of truth. The way that when the west, with our privileging of literal truth, established our colonies throughout the world, we didn’t just bring with us new technologies and diseases and languages. We brought an entirely different, incompatible way of thinking about, and viewing, the world. Leading to exactly the kind of condescending bullshit displayed by the director of Aluna.
I love the way this poem by Mary Oliver builds to its final question.
November’s White Pube residency by Satpreet Kahlon is wonderful. I’m not sure how these web residencies work; hopefully it’ll be around for a while after November?
I read a couple of articles by Marie Flanagan which really stuck with me this month:
Gamerella pays a professional to assist with emotional and interpersonal health. They check in on the teams, not to make sure that work is being produced, but to keep an eye on people and power dynamics. Please let this become a standard at Game Jams instead of candy mountains or giant piles of plastic swag.
And about the Dream Room; a quiet, welcoming space amidst the noise and bustle of a games event. I badly want to see more of this kind of thing at events.
This twitter thread, about kids building a community in the most unlikely place, is wild.
Ada Limón on growing up with a Vietnam veteran, with a devastating final line from her stepfather.
And finally, this old piece from the New Yorker utterly floored me. I’m hesitant about spoiling it, but CW: mass shooting.
Okay. We’re facing the starkest choice I can remember with this week’s general election, between the tories’ extreme capitalist horror death spiral, and a labour party who are for the first time in my life actually articulating the vision of a world I would choose to live in. And I’m terrified the tories will still get in.
Take care. Look after each other. Don’t vote tory.