“1000 Galantes” from the experimental collective One Life Remains is similar to a life-size collaborative game. Up to 25 people can interact with laser pointers on an area that is voluntarily undefined. Thus doubling the prototype effect: on screen and between players.
The participative game 1000 Galantes from the experimental collective One Life Remains is an intriguing choreographic exercise of geometrical shapes guided on a screen with laser pointers, bringing up to 25 players to interact simultaneously. Is it a game, a social experience or a piece of art? 1000 Galantes was born from a game jam organised in Nantes by Stereolux in February 2013. “The team from the association Rencontres Audiovisuelles (audiovisual encounters) in Lille had lent us their laser pointers, explains Brice Roy, from the collective One Life Remains, which allowed us to become familiar with the technology and also identify the gestures, postures and interactions brought about by this type of device. A few months later, in residence, we stabilised it and developed the aesthetic trails we had begun to bring out. The gameplay and the nature of the artistic project have progressed a lot.”
At the crossroads of digital art and video game, One Life Remains, co-founded by the game designer André Berlemont and Brice Roy, trained in philosophy, and in which we find Kevin Lesur, developer, Franck Weber, sound designer, and Simon Bachelier, curator, remains true to its creation logic, mainly fun, between independent game and experimental game.
Insight into 1000 Galantes at A Maze festival, 2013:
A « true-false » collaborative game
1000 Galantes, already presented at L’Hybride and Gare Saint-Sauveur in Lille, in Berlin and at the Lieu Multiple in Poitiers, is a device with substantial dimensions that requires space from 100 to 200 m2, black box type, and a projection area of about 6×4 metres (see over here a video of their first residence).
“The moment of the discovery of the work is decisive”, explains Brice Roy. Since the configuration of the room leads to an omnipresent ballet of the players’ lasers towards the screen, the work at first implies true mediation.
“Up to 25 people can indeed interact simultaneously within the device, each one equipped with a laser pointer. But we do not give them information at any time on what they are supposed to do, nor on the way of doing it. Ultimately, it is necessary to collaborate, but this information is never given to the players, who can very well interact distinctly, point out shapes that emerge to make them appear and move without looking to collaborate.”
As it is, the collective rejects the expression of collaborative game. “In 1000 Galantes, nothing forbids the players to be in each other’s way”, says Brice Roy. “The One Life Remains approach does not entail making ‘social’ games. On 1000 Galantes, it involves examining the figure of the black box. When you use a digital device, you only have access to feedbacks, to visual and resounding interpretations that can give you an idea of the nature of the system. But in the end, a computer program remains something fundamentally hermetic, as if enclosed in itself. 1000 Galantes relies on this black box effect: by giving no information whatsoever to the public on the nature of the object with which they can interact, we leave them to devise their own assumptions. We let them discover on their own the way the device reacts to the presence and the position of the pointers, without revealing if there is something to discover, if there is an objective to search for, to meet, or if on the contrary it is only about an interactive object.”
1000 Galantes remains a fun experience that you can very well carry out without knowing that you are dealing with a game. “In a way, the objective or the principle of the work is maybe to bring the public to determine the nature of the object that is proposed”, says Brice Roy.
Residence at Château Ephémère
Because 1000 Galantes is far from being completed: a new creation residence hosted by the Musique et Cultures Digitales (MCD) association next September and October, at Château Ephémère, sound and digital community workshop in the Paris region, should allow the collective to improve the device, especially in terms of sound environment.
“We wish to test the resistance of the sound system, still rudimentary in the game, and especially the activity of players and the impact of their number on the composition, explains Frank Weber. Even though the structuring force of the gameplay imposes strong constraints upon the composition, it largely relies on the emergence of shapes and the stretching of texture in a dimension. The very slow tempo of 1000 Galantes does not allow you to have an overall vision of the work or the system. It is a stratagem likely to hide the functioning of the game and the composition.”