Kelly Ewing x Alistair MacKinnon in Minecraft
As Yet Untitled Collaboration, 2020
Continuing our collaborative project in Minecraft, myself and Alistair have been discussing the potential in using online gaming environments and mod’s (the term ‘mod’ is the act of modifying a game, to create custom levels, objects, characters, or even user generated aspects/ add-ons to the game) to take full 360-degree creative control over a virtual space.
The current project we are working on in Minecraft is a large-scale built environment, made from stacked blocks of various colours and materials such as concrete, glass and terracotta. These ‘blocks’ of varying material and colour are chosen at random, and placed intermittently across the landscape, both horizontally and vertically by both of us simultaneously. To begin this piece of work, we both began at different corners of the landscape, continually placing blocks in random locations, until we reached the ‘centre’ of the landscape, and our individual structures merged into one.
We then began to build on the opposite side to which we began, filling in the gaps in blocks the other hadn’t filled; placing blocks horizontally, vertically and diagonally, until we had built a hap-hazard structure reminiscent of a child’s use of plastic toy building blocks.
This project is currently focused on the unpredictable nature of collaborative action, especially that which takes place online. Neither of us can predict what’s going to happen to our structure as at any moment either of us can influence anything in the environment, positively or negatively. There is no inherent order to the way we are building this structure and the development of its shape and form is built on uncertainty and unpredictability. This continually evolving built environment reflects the nature of our collaborative practice, which is always morphing and changing through various forms, media and processes.
As previously mentioned, we have been discussing the potential of modifying the textures which Minecraft use to create the visual effects of blocks or objects in the game, changing how they look entirely, so we can assume full creative control over all elements of the game. By changing how these in-game objects look, we will have full influence over the aesthetic entirety of our environment, which will allow us full creative freedom and control.
As we work with this project, we want to continue to develop the structure, pushing it to be as large as we possibly can; completely spanning the ‘natural’ landscape in which it exists. Ideally, once we have reached a point in the growth of the structure, we will convert the Minecraft game file in which the work exists, into a publicly accessible space; meaning those who don’t own a copy of Minecraft will be able to interact with and explore the work themselves.