Trente Pas Entre Terre Et Ciel
Video provided by Heather Kelley
Trente Pas Entre Terre Et Ciel was a game created by Heather Kelley in coordination with three other artists for an installation at La Gaité Lyrique in Paris, France. The piece consists of a visual component that is projected onto a wall running parallel to a hopscotch course. The course itself acts as a multiplayer hopscotch space, where players must work with their partner, and others around them, to complete Trente Pas Entre Terre Et Ciel.
The concept of this work is to challenge classic gaming spaces through the implementation of multifaceted interactive games. This creation is used to create an alternate reality for users, where they can play and interact with each other given a unique set of rules. In sections of the course you must hold hand with your partner, offer a compliment, or even turn around to encourage other players moving up the board behind you. The importance of this comes when looking at the classic idea of a game. Typically, a video game consists an interface where a single player interacts with content shown on the screen. The purpose behind this, and many of Heather Kelley's works, is to expand this idea of a game. By incorporating multiple users who must interact with one another, Heather Kelley introduces a much more socialized space that allows for a communal pursuit of victory. The use of projection visuals and a uniquely designed hopscotch board transforms the exhibition space into a fantastical world where people can become fully immersed in the game and it's rules.
Heather Kelley talking about Trente Pas Entre Terre et Ciel with Get In Media, says:
...there’s plenty of single-player games where it’s you interacting with the content in the game, but games have always been and continue to be profoundly able to shape human interaction with one another. In fact, that’s kind of what they’re about. The rules are defining this magic circle in which everyone is agreeing to this alternate reality, if you will, that consists of the way the game works and the game’s rules. They always have that capability and it’s interesting to find ways to use that capability to create different relationships or different behaviors of people toward one another. (Couch, C. Heather Kelley: Designing Experimental Games)
By constructing such a space, Heather Kelley, and other cooperating artists, successfully generate this alternate reality that is able to shape human interactions. In the case of Trente Pas Entre Terre Et Ciel, the induced interaction is extremely refreshing in a popular gaming world that is very isolating.
This piece is important because it calls for the expansion of these isolated spaces. By implementing her works in galleries and other public locales, Heather, and similar artists, are challenging the nature of gaming and calling for the reinstitution of humanity and personal interaction in the gaming world.
You can see this push to develop immersive gaming spaces through many of Heather Kelley's games. In her project Fabulous/Fabuleux, Kelley again makes use of tangible space by creating a complex version of connect the dots in which you navigate the room with an orb in order to find hot spots.
Once you locate the entire series of points, a 3D image appears on the screen which you can inspect by rotating the orb. The alternate reality and use of space in this game is almost more significant than in Trente Pas Etre Terre et Ciel as your location within the room is crucial to finding the hot spots. Unlike, Trent Pas Etre Terre et Ciel, Fabulous/Fabuleux was more so about generating an alternate reality, and not as much about harnessing an environment that shapes human interactions with one another. One thing that is interesting in both of these games is that they are expansions on the two simple games of connect the dots and hopscotch. It is significant that this change in context can alter these activities from something bland and impersonal, to modes as socially and physically engaging as the two games mentioned above.
Another work that makes impressive use of physical space to generate a gaming world is one dubbed The Building Is..., by a group called Hide and Seek.
In this game the building is a character that you interact with through a number of different activities within. When you first enter the building, it has an emotion that is displayed on the screen above, and it is up to the player to navigate the building to it's heart to change that emotion. This project takes the development of an alternate world to the next level by making use of an entire building as a game space. As impressive as the physical design of the game is, it is also impressive how player behavior is shaped in this world. Instead of their behavior being tailored to the needs of their teammates, like in Trente Pas Entre Terre et Ciel, the players behavior is instead modified to generate a desired emotional response from the building. Regardless of the construct of the world, or the different beings players are pushed to coordinate with, these games are clearly setting the precedent for changing the way we think about games and how they effect us as social creatures.
Mentioned works display locations:
-Trente Pas Entre Terre Et Ciel : La Gaité Lyrique in Paris, France
-Fabulous/Fabuleux : Künstlerhaus in Vienna, Austria
-The Building Is...: La Gaité Lyrique in Paris, France