Monday, June 10, 2013

On BioShock Infinite: The Self, The Shadow, The Other

I did an analysis of BioShock Infinite, the recent FPS-cum-art-game from Ken Levine at Irrational Games. It can be found over at Berfrois, an always-excellent repository of essays and criticism. If you've played the gaem, or you're curious and don't mind spoilers, go give it a read. A selection:
On a thematic level, BioShock Infinite‘s tropes may be well-worn – it taps into familiar material – but it does reconfigure and invigorate these tropes, delving deeper into them than a work of art has attempted in a long time. These motifs, as articulated by psychology and existentialism, are the Shadow and the Other. They’ve been used in video games forever, generally in the shallowest of ways, but in BioShock Infinite, they’re resuscitated and supercharged, and their primal power gives an uncanny intensity to those aforementioned emotional moments.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

On *Mein Blog*: My favorite album

Back in May, I wrote a reflection on my favorite album for Evan's blog. I chose the Rx Bandits' The Resignation. If you want to give it a read, here it is. A selection:
So here's what came together to make Resignation the album that it was: the Bandits had found some success in experimentation, so they decided to really push their creative boundaries. At the same time, they discovered a dense pocket of rage and frustration that their neo-ska-punk groove hadn't been able to relieve. So all at once, they exploded, both technically and emotionally, and the result is a really intense record, an angsty grit-toothed white noise at the confluence of all their circumstances and influences. It was a bit of a perfect storm of an album.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

My Capsule Review of Like Someone in Love

Back in March, I did a capsule for Abbas Kiarostami's Like Someone in Love for 366 Weird Movies. If you're curious about the film, feel free to go check it out. A selection:
One of the great things about Like Someone in Love is how it demonstrates the strength of this kind of ambiguous, minimalist filmmaking: within its naturalistic treatment of its subjects, it creates huge fertile spaces for the proliferation of symbolic meanings and psychological resonance. It’s shot painstakingly, with the camera always intensely aware of its space. Doorways, reflections, confined interiors, obstructions, and the space outside the frame: all these become Kiarostami’s playthings. In his control of objects and the camera’s eye, he is reminiscent of Stanley Kubrick, whose style was similarly deliberate, ostensibly naturalistic, but profoundly self-aware.