ACMI Conversations ACMI and Freeplay presents

The Pleasure of Pixels

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Video games can transport players into ethereal experiences, create unique communities and become a medium for interactive and experimental art.

Join game designer and curator Chad Toprak (Freeplay), experimental games designers Michael Samyn and Auriea Harvey (Tale of Tales) and cultural curator Zuraida Buter (Zo-ii) for a deep dive into beautiful, wonderous and experiential game worlds.

About the speakers

Auriea Harvey and Michael Samyn (Tale of Tales)

Auriea Harvey (1971, USA) and Michaël Samyn (1968, Belgium) met online in 1999 and collaborated for several years as Entropy8Zuper! creating sensuous, personal and political web-based artworks like Skinonskinonskin (1999) and The Godlove Museum (1999-2006) and Wirefire (1999-2003) and designing websites for various clients. In 2002 they founded independent development studio Tale of Tales with the purpose of exploring the artistic potential of video games. Between 2002 and 2015, Harvey and Samyn released 8 video games: The Endless Forest (2005), The Graveyard (2008), The Path (2009), Fatale (2009), Vanitas (2010), Bientôt l’été (2012), Luxuria Superbia (2013) and Sunset (2015). All unique explorations of the potential of the medium used by video games, often winning awards for originality while being attacked for non-conformism. The couple have now stopped producing commercial titles to focus on virtual reality and artistic uses of computer technology with new projects like Cathedral-in-the-Clouds (2015-) and Cricoterie (2017-). They live and work in Ghent, Belgium.

Chad Toprak (Freeplay)

Chad Toprak is an independent game designer, curator, academic, and current director of Freeplay, Australia's longest-running and largest independent games festival. He is best known for his curatorial work with Hovergarden, Melbourne’s video game curatorial duo, and his more recent work on Contours, an annual exhibition that highlights emerging contemporary Australian games that sit at the fringes of the medium. In the past, Chad has worked on award-winning games such as Turnover, the four-player multigravity steal-the-ball-n-run frenzy, Cart-Load-O-Fun, a two-player collaborative physical game designed for trains and trams, dualcyon, the experimental Leap Motion & VR puzzle game for two, and This Is Not A VR Game, an audio-only VR performance.

Zuraida Buter (Zo-ii)

Zuraida Buter is a playful culture curator based in the Netherlands. She curates, initiates, consults and documents events focused on playful culture and games. Her work revolves around bringing people together for creation, inspiration and playfulness. She runs playful culture organisation zo-ii where she has curated projects such as Incubate Arcade and Screenshake Game Expo, showcasing a wide range of different game projects and artists throughout the years. She’s also run several local game jams such as Molyjam, Playful Jam and a Beach Jam. She is co-founder of Playful Arts Festival in the Netherlands, which explores the intersection of interactive performing arts, visual art and playful design. Previously she initiated Dutch indie game showcase INDIGO in the Netherlands as project manager at Dutch Game Garden. She was worldwide Executive Director of the Global Game Jam until 2014 and founding board member of Global Game Jam, Inc. In the past she has been a lecturer at different universities. For 8 years she taught game design and media theory at Interactive Performance Design at the HKU University of the Arts. In 2013 she received the European Women in Games Award for Achievement and Innovation.