Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Fictional Histories - Fine Art about Tabletop Hobbies

Perhaps some of you will know, and some won't. But I've had the immense privilege to attend undergrad at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro for the past four years, as a member of the New Media and Design specification in the School of Art. During the time that I have spent in college, I like to think that I've grown as a member of the global academic community as well as an artist.  While I shy away from putting artworks up on this blog, as it's dedicated to my exploits in Tabletop gaming, I have found my professional and private interests strangely brought closer together.  Specifically during an intensive photography study that I participated in during the summer of 2015, which was exhibited in the Big Visions show in the fall of the same year.   During the final stages of that project, I was struggling in trying to find a connection with Southern France and my life in the United States, around the same time I discovered the Games Workshop store in Aix-en-Provence, and hung around the place in my spare time as a sort of lifeline to home (the cafe' across the plaza also had excellent espresso, which didn't hurt matters)   Up until that point I had drawn a pretty hardline not to include things from "nerd culture" in my work, I had this opinion in my head that it was unprofessional to incorporate things like miniatures gaming or hobbies into work.  After a very enlightening discussion with my professors, they convinced me to branch out and really explore how miniatures gaming could influence my experience of France. While I never ended up putting those French miniatures photos into the final show, they were crucial to altering how I looked at my entire experience of the place.

Fast-forwarding a bit, we come to the present and my last semester at the University. Having incorporated bits and pieces of miniatures gaming in abstract ways into my works since France, for my final project with the school, I opted to actually dive in and explore something that I've always wanted to know.  I have often found myself fascinated by the amount of time and effort that gamers are willing to exert on building their settings, I'm reminded of blogs like Palladian Guard or Devos IV. that recorded in painstaking detail the names, stories, and planets of men that do not and have not ever existed in detail that would make some historians blush.  Of course, we look at men like Tolkien and his Mythopoeia for a classical example of this behavior. I have often asked the question of myself, (readers of this blog will know I'm also quite guilty of this behavior) what inspires me to create so much content and data for a fictional history to be consumed by a small sub-group of the social scene around me, especially in the face of misunderstanding or hostility even from my girlfriend and others who sit outside the hobby community.

My last project is titled Fictional Histories and seeks to ask others that question of themselves, as well as to get a glimpse of the settings, memorable games, and thoughts of other people who are as committed to tabletop gaming as I am. The plan is to conduct an interview with a tabletop gamer, ask them a few questions, foremost amongst these is a memorable moment in tabletop gaming, and then I will create a diorama of that moment, pair it with the recorded or transcribed interview as well as any documents (things like army lists, stories etc.) miniatures or props the interviewee might be willing to loan for the duration of the project and then display the diorama, its interview and its ancillary material in the same way a museum might display information about a real historical event. The hope is, we explore the people that are involved in the hobby, and also de-mystify it a little for the people that see it but maybe write it off as immaturity or weird.

If you think you'd like to participate in an interview with me for this project then please feel free to...

Email me:     impcommander@gmail.com   [w/ Subject "Fictional Histories"]
Call or Text:  3369061755

1 comment:

  1. ha haha. Just tried to text. My phone (provided by an enlightened employer) will call throughout Europe. But not Carolina.

    Can you pop back to France for a bit ?

    Failing that, I'll email.


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