Understanding Machinima Essays on Filmmaking in Virtual Worlds - Edited by Jenna P-S Ng


By Henry Lowood

Machinima is a born-digital, adolescent medium. It is reasonable to affirm that the birth occurred in 1996 with the Rangers's Quake (1996) movie, Diary of a Camper (1996), which means that the sixteenth birthday occurred this year. Paraphrasing the Stray Cats' cover for the John Hughes's film of the same name, "sixteen candles" make a lovely occasion for intensifying critical attention to this emerging medium in both retrospective and prognosticative modes. Indeed, the publication of Understanding Machinima adds to the growing scholarly literature on machinima, which includes recent publications such as The Machinima Reader (Lowood 2011) and the special issue of the Journal of Visual Culture (Rojo 2011) devoted to machinima.

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By Jenna Ng

The germ of the idea for this book began when I was sitting in my flat in northern Sweden, staring out of the window at a howling Arctic winter blizzard. Two things struck me: the first was the inexorable passage of the elements – the grey rains of the autumn having given way to the flurries of ice crystals; the dark snow now blanketing the ground that would give rise in the spring to the gushing river artery which ran through the town. I had an epiphany: that everything was not only inter-connected, but that existence itself – the very thingness of us all – is not discrete, but the ebb and flow of those connections.

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Machinima: Cinema in a minor or multitudinous key?
William Brown and Matt Holtmeier
Beyond Bullet Time: Media in the knowable space
Chris Burke
Be(ing)Dazzled: Living in machinima Sheldon Brown
Moving Digital Puppets Michael Nitsche, Ali Mazalek, and Paul Clifton
Facing the Audience: A dialogic perspective on the hybrid animated film
Lisbeth Frølunde
Dangerous Sim Crossings: Framing the Second Life art machinima
Sarah Higley
The Art of Games: Machinima and the limits of art game
Larissa Hjorth
Playing Politics: Machinima as live performance and document
Joseph DeLappe
Virtual Lens of Exposure: Aesthetics, theory and ethics of documentary filmmaking in Second Life
Sandra Danilovic
Call It a Vision Quest: Machinima in a First Nations context
Beth Aileen Dillon and Jason Edward Lewis
World of Chaucer – Adaptation, Pedagogy and Interdisciplinarity
Chris Moore and Graham Barwell
A Pedagogy of Craft: Teaching Kulturanalys with machinima
Jenna Ng and James Barrett


Isabelle Arvers interviewed by Jenna Ng

I looked up Isabelle when I was visiting Paris for a weekend, having already known a little of her interests in and read her published articles on machinima. As Isabelle filled me in on her numerous projects curating, exhibiting and teaching with machinima, I grew increasingly fascinated with her work...

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