This work by Nick Smithies is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
This site has been stuck together with Hotglue
Home Projects Media
(in colaboration with sister0)

The "Pataphysical Salon" setting opens up standard devices and situations, the computer can be seen as an expressive medium, a theatre machine. It explores the notion of a playful dream that exists in the interstices between the real and the fictional. The game controller becomes a cypher key to bring meaning to other places - wild places, which as yet, can only be imagined. There are real settings in this virtual game environment; the entrance is a Tessellated Pavement, an uncanny landform and a place of beauty and mystery. The matrix-like slate rock formation resembles a labyrinth. Meaning flickers on and off like a relay switch or an interrupted signal transmission. The control pad outputs are not predictable and hence offer new insights through the unusual connections that are made. Playfully testing the very limits of rule-based systems, the 'liveness' in the approach encouraged could be perceived as unruly and un-governed. Instead it is concerned with ab interior experience propels a notion of radical subjectivity. As one sits with the landscape, a subjective diary, a magical parable, a treasure map unfolds eliciting an agency and a parallel story. The game encourages the performativity of player through colors, literature and theatrical motifs that are an indirect consequence of the mise-en-scene of the hardware and software. In fact, the game becomes the performer - the player concedes agency to the code. Perhaps you are really a non-player in a game controlled by someone or something else; perhaps you are the one who is played. Playing havoc with signification by inverting the 'codes', and proposes a realm, which lies under the shadow of code, but is still, for the moment, outside of codification.

This project was presented at ESC in Graz, Austria as part of the Ministry of Hacking event.

Project site

Video Interview


Computer running Unity game engine, Crystals, Couch, Lamp,
game controller, sound system and speakers