Friday, June 27, 2008

Factories, resources and love - Virtual worlds and social networking

An interesting talk by an artist who has been hacking the Civilization IV engine to create a game that makes statements about our contemporary economy. Here's a brief blurb about his talk:

Civilization IV - Age of Empire is a project by Eastwood Real Time Strategy Group (based in Serbia) that explores and simulates the flow and
control of information and capital. Based on the famous “Civilization III” game-engine, it displays the relationships between some of the main
determinants of our global culture - the military entertainment complex, immaterial labor, the pharmaceutical industry and the net economy - to
name just a few.

Civilization IV is a game that creates a socio-economical model, mapping the processes, flows, comparativeness and differentiation in the
market. This model simulates activities of some of the world’s top IT corporations.

The name of the game, Civilization IV is questioning the copyrighting of the word “Civilization” by Sid Meyers & Co. which should be common
for whole mankind. Using of Civilization III engine is an act of appropriation of world’s famous Real Time Strategy Game as universal cultural

Eastwood uses the interactive computer strategy game Civilization IV as a medium to express their attitude towards contemporary social
cultural practice and to map and visualize how systems are functioning. Yet in contrast to the “normal” Civilization IV Eastwood chose IT
companies to emphasise the “military” structure in today’s economy.
Eastwood - Real Time Strategy Group is a group dedicated to the strategic research of relations between information technology and cultural
practice. Eastwood establishes platform for understanding of basic principles of information society and wider implications that new social and
class system is bringing. They create and use computer games as a tool
for new visions of art and cultural practice.

About the Speaker
Kristian Lukic is writer, computer games researcher, new media artist, curator. He is director of Napon Institute for flexible culture and
technologies, based in Novi Sad, Serbia. Working also as digital art and culture curator in Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina in
Novi Sad.

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