I'm delighted to share a (rather limited selection, admittedly) of projects developed by the students that took my Videogames, Technology and Art course as part of the M.A. in Cinema, Television, and New Media at IULM University this year. Titled Game Video the final project is a short length video (e.g. video art, fictional trailer, visual essay, walkthrough etc.) created with popular video games including Grand Theft Auto V, The Sims 4, Call of Duty: Warzone, The Last of Us, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, and many more. Basically, a machinima. Here's a sample, taken from a total of eighteen submitted works:
Los Santos Calibro 9 (Grand Theft Auto V)
Using Grand Theft Auto V, Piacentini created a fictional trailer for a "poliziesco" movie entitled Los Santos Calibro 9 which pays homage to Fernando Di Leo's Milano calibro 9 (1972). The soundtrack appropriates and recontextualizes a song by Franco Micalizzi. The names of the characters are inspired by Umberto Lenzi's Roma a mano armata (1976): ruthless Detective Tanzi (Maurizio Merli) is chasing The Gecko, (a play on Il Gobbo, the Hunchback, played by Tomas Milian). Modifying the original game was not an easy feat. Piacentini used the followings mods: Menyoo, Scene director – Mod per la gestione degli attori e delle animazioni Visuallv, Extended video export; Old school lapd detectives ; Divisa commissario polizia di stato – Modello attori all’interno della stazione di polizia Divisa polizia stradale; Stazione di polizia e Centrale polizia di stato; Alfa Romeo Giulia Super – Modello auto della polizia con diverse livree Fiat 1300. Postproduction: Jamiewindsor retroassets (Assets Pack for Adobe Premiere Pro)
Protecting Your Rights (Grand Theft Auto V)
Protecting your rights is a commentary on the spectacle of violence in contemporary society, and especially on the quintessentially North American death cult of firearms, resulting in weekly mass shootings, social disruption, and unspeakable violence. The video shows examples of gun ads that appear in Grand Theft Auto V, a game which simultaneously critiques the legitimation of gun violence and blatantly celebrates it. The imaginary of guns collides with harsh reality: the last sequence depicts a wall that is metaphorically and literally bleeding. America itself is a canvas stained with blood splatterings, Rossi suggests. The video seems to allude to Mexican artist Teresa Margolles's bloody installations. With the help of several mods, Rossi positioned and subsequently killed several characters, recording their executions from different angles. The resulting "painting" was created algorithmically. Initially created with the Rockstar Editor, the video was subsequently improved with the aid of Premiere Pro. In terms of montage, Protecting Your Rights was inspired by a sequence from One Day in September, a documentary by Kevin Macdonald. The soundtrack features "Child in Time" by Deep Purple.
Neymar: A 21st Century Portrait (FIFA 20)
A sui generis remake of Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno's art installation Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait, Mauri's video is not a mere update, but rather a critique. Neymar is cast as the quintessential post-human footballer, whose simulacrum is about to enter Fortnite and whose entire persona coincides with that of a neoliberal subject, the transactional man who is always selling himself, an entrepreneur of the self. Whereas in the original work by Douglas and Parreno the quotes on screen are taken from an interview with Zinedine Zidane, in Mauri's video, the quoted text comes from the captions of photographs shared by Neymar on Instagram. They are, in other words, branded content: as intimate and personal as they may sound, they are nothing more than slogans. There are, in fact, just a perfume ad. Even the opening quote come from the caption to a video made by Neymar to promote an airline company. Like the original video by Parreno and Gordon, Neymar: A 21st Century Portrait has no voice over. The soundtrack is Mogway's "Black Spider". Moreover, the underlying logic remains unchanged: the focus is on the subject, rather than the game. Because soccer is just an excuse for celebrities to sell themselves and to sell us stuff.