Lieutenant Butterfly: exploring videogames through ordinary psychedelic play

James, Phil
Charlton, James
McIntyre, Simon
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Master of Creative Technologies
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Auckland University of Technology

Employing a psychedelic method, a sketched based process has been adopted for developing software artworks that are informed by traditional art practices, videogames and notions of play. This method recalls memories of psychedelic experiences and dreams, as well as drawing on experience of self through poetic writing and metaphor that seeks to look across the range of works produced. Through this process foundations and assumptions regarding the researchers own work, method, and my relationship to videogames is explored.

This practice-based research has been further informed and refigured through a specific ritualistic practices, and readings of philosophical works that expose practice in order to reveal spatiality, and finally collapse and connect selected sketches and artefacts into a single entity.

The starting point for this inquiry was Lieutenant Butterfly - a software work that has been developed and expanded. In developing this work, I was able to position this work and the related practice in relation to videogames and culture. The title is kept as a reference to this work, and marks it as the foundation.

Videogames are treated in this research as another world in which ordinary things exist, just like our own. As we cognitively move in relation to them, new places are created - new fertile sites densely populated with emergent things. The conclusions to this research are a series of discussions that relate to the ethics of practice within these subtle environments, acknowledging that transient-selves live there, and that to communicate with those inhabitants we must understand their ecologies in order to go on living and working in relation.

Psychedelic , Play , Videogames , Digital art
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