We’re Back! A note from Team Vector on Vector 2015!

Team Vector has seen some changes in its ranks over the past two years, and we’re immensely proud of everything this collective has achieved in its various incarnations. After a short post-festival hiatus, building on many conversations we’ve had with many of our friends and supporters, we have spent the last few months evaluating what Team Vector is, what our priorities are, and what kinds of work we want to accomplish in the near future. What has always been a collective effort will continue to be so, even though for the moment the ‘collective’ has shrunk to just two of us – Skot and Martin. But rest assured, friends, the spirit of what we’re planning for the coming year falls fully in line with Team Vector’s original mandate: to support and exhibit the work of artists experimenting in games and new media, and to foster critical dialogue between the various “art worlds”that these practices come into contact with. These foundational principles are as important to us as ever, and they are the very reasons that we’re continuing this work.

What this means, moving forward, is that you’ll see a change in the scale and scope of the 2015 Vector Festival. With only two of us running the festival this year, we’re pulling back a bit, trimming the number of exhibitions and events to a more manageable scale. It is our hope that all of you who have contributed to the festival – artists, curators, community organizations, scholars, volunteers, and visitors – will be involved again in making Vector 2015 another great success. We certainly couldn’t have come this far without you, and look forward to continuing these partnerships and collaborations! Your support means a great deal to us, and allowed us to create this unique space of critical dialogue and support for emerging creative practices.

Beyond the festival, we are developing new avenues that allow us to engage in regular dialogue with the creative communities that make the kinds of works we’re interested in, as well as to maintain a critical discourse throughout. In doing so we’re looking beyond the boundaries of Toronto to bring the principles of Vector to other communities. More information is pending, and we will share upcoming ideas and events with you as time goes on.

In closing, thank you all! Thank you all for the support, encouragement and your contributions to making what we do so rewarding. Thanks to our community partners: VideoFag, Bento Miso, Dames Making Games, Feminists in Games, OCAD U, Cine Cycle, and InterAccess for all the assistance over the past couple of years. And, of course, thanks to all of Team Vector’s former members, Katie Micak, Christine Kim, Clint Enns and Diana Poulsen. We wouldn’t be where we are without your invaluable work along the way!

It’s great to be back and planning the third installment of Vector for 2015! We have several Calls for Artworks and they are now LIVE! Please take the time to read them over and submit your work! Thank you all for your continued interest and support, we look forward to hearing from you.

Martin & Skot.
(Team Vector).

Team Vector at the Long Winter Arcade on January 10th, 2014!

 Team Vector is excited to announce it’s participation in this season’s Long Winter series at the Great Hall! Conceived by members of Toronto band Fucked Up, The Long Winter is a series of concerts that incorporate art installation, video games, food vendors and more! Now in it’s second season, we’re pleased to announce that we will be curating games for the January 10th edition of the Long Winter in the new year!

 We’re happy to curate games for this installment of the Long Winter Arcade, having shared the curatorial duties for the second season of Long Winter with Bento Miso, Drinkbox Studios, Dames Making Games,  and TO Jam; with each group curating for one of the events. For our portion of this series, we’ve decided to bring in games that focus on unique perspectives in the local multiplayer experience. We’re inviting Long Winter attendees to shoot and battle with other players throughout the night, with this assortment of games.

 Team Vector will be bringing the following games to the Long Winter Arcade:

 Tay Bai Woo: Chopsquares.

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 Blue Square’s ultimate nemesis Red Square is for reals angry. They face off once and for all in square to square combat, choppin’ each other’s bods mercilessly. They spin through the air, in an endless struggle.

CHOPSQUARES is a small two-player versus game, where each player is a square, a square with a sword on its head. Time slows the closer both squares get. If the sword touches the other square’s body they are dead.

 Alex Martin (aka Droqen): Shotguns in the Dark.

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 A 2 player versus mode game where you fight your opponent in a darkened maze, only the flash of your shotguns reveal your location.

 KO-OP Mode (Montreal): Kung Fu Volleyball.

Are you ready for battle? Montreal’s KO-OP Mode brings you a volleyball game unlike you’ve ever seen! Soar through the air and use your Kung Fu Powers to score points against your opponent in this 1 on 1 Kung Fu inspired sports game.

 Creative Technologies of Toronto (CTT): Crack-a-Quack.

 Crack-a-Quack is a mobile AR game, which pays tribute to the classic duck shooting galleries of old carnivals as well as the classic shooter Duck Hunt for the NES. Instead of a light gun and a television however, visitors to the Long Winter Arcade can download a small app, and use their own phones as the “zapper” while shooting targets on a large projected screen. This game allows for multiple users at the same time, where you can compete with other players to achieve the high score.

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 We hope that you will join us at the Long Winter Arcade at Long Winter on January 10th! For more info, you can check out the Long Winter Facebook page!

 

 

 

Announcing Vector 2014′s first screening programme!

Team Vector is pleased to announce the first screening of the 2014 edition of Vector Game + Art Convergence! Taking place on Wednesday, February 19th at Cinecycle (129 Spadina Ave), our first screening is programmed by former Team Vector member Clint Enns as he returns as one of this year’s guest curators.  Happening the day before the official launch of the festival, this special “Day Zero” screening features works that connect to the larger practice of game art, through experimentations in computational media.  We hope that you will join us for this exciting programme!  For more information on tickets for this event, please visit the tickets section of the Vector Festival website.

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The works in this program explore both the mathematical precision of computer graphics, as well as the uncontrolled, the uncontrollable and the random. Early examples of both experimental and narrative computer animated films will be shown including work by John Whitney, Sr., Norman McLaren and Evelyn Lambart, Mary Ellen Bute, John Stehura, James Whitney, Stan Vanderbeek and Kenneth Knowlton, Lillian Schwartz, Pierre Hébert and Peter Foldès. As an added bonus, innovative computer generated commercials produced by Robert Abel and Associates will be shown between each film.

 Includes the films:
Around is Around – Norman McLaren and Evelyn Lambart, 1951, 10 minutes
Abstronic Mary Ellen Bute, 1952, 7 minutes
Catalog John Whitney, Sr., 1961, 7 minutes
Cibernetik 5.3 (1960-65) – John Stehura, 1965, 8 minutes
Lapis
– James Whitney, 1966, 10 minutes
Poemfield no.2
– Stan Vanderbeek and Kenneth Knowlton, 1966, 6 minutes
The Artist and The Computer
– Lillian Schwartz, 1976, 11 minutes
Around Perception Pierre Hébert, 1968, 16 minutes
La Faim
– Peter Foldès, 1974, 11 minutes
Various Robert Abel Commercials, Various Dates, 7 minutes

 

Meet Team Vector’s Newest Member!

Team Vector is excited to have Diana Poulsen on board as our newest member!

Diana is an art historian, artist, writer and critic. Her MA thesis, “But Today, We Collect Videogames”, examines the similarities between art and videogames under the umbrella of visual culture. Diana’s research specializations include: collage, appropriation, New Media, and Neo-Baroque aesthetics. She is a former videogame critic and section editor for MONDO Magazine and has written for Kill Screen and Gamasutra. Her artwork has been exhibited internationally, and currently teaches art history at Fanshawe College in London Ontario, plays too many MMOs, and is fascinated by player created mods.

You can find out more about her on her own blog.

We’re pleased to have Diana on board and are looking forward to the unique perspective that she will bring to our mutual curatorial vision.

Team Vector @ the X Avant Music Festival 2013 – A Debriefing

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Our satellite event for the X Avant Morton Feldman concert in mid-October worked out great. We’d like to thank the Music Gallery‘s David Dacks for inviting us to collaborate, pianist/conductor/producer extraordinaire Gregory Oh for getting the conversation going in the first place, and Caroline Macfarlane for hosting us so graciously at the OCAD Student Gallery.

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For those among you who couldn’t make it: we installed three indie games focused on open exploration, which were accompanied by a broadcast of a six hour live performance of Morton Feldman’s String Quartet No. 2 by the Toronto-based FLUX Quartet. The live music replaced the existing soundtrack of the games, thus constantly changing the experience of being immersed in the three game worlds. The three pieces we showed were Proteus, Paradis Perdu, and Against the Wall. We had a steady trickle of visitors all the way until midnight, so that at least two out of the three games were being played at most times. Visitors ranged from X Avant concert-goers and OCAD faculty to art students, tourists from Germany and Detroit (!), and random folks out for drinks.

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The unorthodox game/music pairing made for many engaged conversations throughout the night. The music was fantastic and carried very well in the gallery space; the three videogame pieces are stunning, and the combination of sound and visuals couldn’t have turned out any better. Whichever way you looked at it, the game mechanics, visuals, and sound were both complementary and contrasting in beautiful, interesting, and unexpected ways. In fact, quite a few visitors were genuinely surprised to hear that the ethereal music that filled the space was NOT the actual soundtrack to the games, and that the slow modulations of the Feldman composition were NOT results of their own gameplay.

Overall, I think we proved a pretty unique point that may never before have been made quite like this: game art and avant-garde music go together very well!

NEWS! FREE Team Vector Event at Toronto’s X Avant Music Festival, Oct.12

X Avant Music Festival Presents: Morton Feldman’s String Quartet No. 2, performed by the FLUX Quartet.
October 12, 2013, @ the Music Gallery and the OCAD Gallery.

EDIT: Take note (and tell your friends) that the satellite event at the OCAD U Gallery is FREE to attend!

Doors 5pm / Concert 6pm

(Tickets for the concert at the Music Gallery: $30 Regular / $20 Member / $25 Advance at Soundscapes)

A few weeks ago, Team Vector was approached by the Organizers of Toronto’s X Avant Music Festival to engage in a bit of an experiment by adding games to one of the festival’s programmes.

On Saturday, October 12th. X Avant is presenting a performance of composer Morton Feldman’s String Quartet No. 2, an epic six hour piece performed by Toronto’s FLUX Quartet.  Here’s a sample of FLUX performing the piece:

The performance will be happening live at Toronto’s Music Gallery, with visitors encouraged to respectfully enter and leave the space. The performance will also be broadcast live on CIUT 85.9 FM, and simulcast at the OCAD Gallery (52 McCaul St), where we will be curating a selection of three games that will be playable during the performance, alongside a collection of animated GIF art curated by OCADu’s Digital Painting Class. The organizers are calling the event a “slow rave”, which we think is very interesting.

The challenge for Team Vector was to find games that could speak to the FLUX Quartet’s marathon performance of the piece in the OCAD gallery, without being too busy or distracting from the music. What X Avant asked us to do was to find works that could enter into a conversation with the music. (Noting that the music of the games we choose would be muted).  Given how integral sound is within digital games, this proved to be quite the challenge.

But we are pleased to say that we have chosen the three games, which will be playable at the OCAD Gallery during the entirety of the event.   So what kind of games have we chosen? We’ve chosen games in which players are invited to explore. Much like the Other World’s Exhibition at Vector 2013, a curatorial collaboration by skot and Rich Oglesby (UK). The games in that exhibition highlighted a trend within the medium where creators are building largescale open explorable virtual environments, with no set goals or acheivements. These games invite us to enter and explore.  In the case of this event, we’re hoping that the performance of Feldman’s piece will influence the ways in which people explore these spaces. We’ll be projecting the games on screens on the walls of the gallery to scale them up a bit and hopefully enhance their immersive qualities.

While these games are fully realized environments with their our soundscapes, we’re very interested in how they interact and speak back to the musical performance.  We’ve chosen three games for the event:

Proteus. By Ed Key and David Kanaga.

One of the notable games in this emerging genre, Proteus was featured at Other Worlds during Vector 2013. It features a procedurally generated island which players can explore.

Using Proteus as our starting point, we sought out other games which operate in a very similar manner….

Paradis Perdus (Lost Paradises). By Sergey Mohov.

Similar to Proteus in some ways, Mohov’s Paradise Perdus adds and interesting element to the player exploration of the world. The player is an unwelcome variable in this paradise, and by moving through the world, the player’s action begin to destabilize the environment. In Mohov’s own words:

“the game is about not belonging. You are the bad guy, you are killing everything you touch. The world you are in is beautiful and green, but the moment you get into it, you start infecting everything, and the world starts decaying, until it eventually ceases to exist. You can choose to exit the world, and then it will heal itself, but then you don’t get to enjoy it of course, because you’re not there any more.”

Against The Wall by Michael Consoli

Lastly, Against the Wall is a first person adventure/ platformer set against an infinite wall. Players explore structures, and environments, all of which are attached to the wall. A different kind of world to explore, Michael’s piece sort of turns the platformer on its side to create a beautiful and strange world to explore.

We hope that you will join us. We want to thank the game makers for participating in the event and helping us out with this strange experiment. A big thanks to the organizers of X Avant for the invitation to bring these works to an audience that may not otherwise experience them. Thanks to them, Team Vector continues to make in roads, bringing games to a wide array of arts audiences.