AURIEA HARVEY About Works Days Context Contact
Trail: AutoBiography

AutoBiography

ProofOfMyExistence

I was born in Indianapolis Indiana in 1971. After graduating high school, at age 18 I moved to New York City and studied Sculpture in the Fine Arts Department of Parsons School of Design. It is also at Parsons in the early 90s where I discovered and developed my fascination with using computers in art. I made this the focus of my practice and once I found the Internet in 1994 created websites as both an artist and as a professional designer, under the moniker of Entropy8. I got a lot of attention for that that the time, being awarded a fellowship in Experimental Media by the New York Foundation for the Arts and making websites for clients that varied from rock stars (Janet Jackson, Lenny Kravitz, Depeche Mode) to net art for the Walker Art Center’s “Gallery 9” project. Little-known fun fact: I won the first two Webby awards for Artistic Website in 1997 and 1998, for my homepage http://entropy8.com. The World Wide Web was super important to me. I still remember that early web with eternal fondness and a pang of nostalgia. A lost universe. A utopia that existed in the imaginations and hands and lives of a few for a brief time.

In 1999, in Cypberspace, on a server at a domain called hell.com, I met fellow net artist Michaël Samyn (zuper.com). We fell in love and began our collaboration by combining our personal domains into Entropy8Zuper.org. We were awarded by the SFMOMA for our project there called “The Godlove Museum”. Every Thursday night at midnight in Belgium we gave live/online performances using our Wirefire private VJ engine. No matter where either one of us was in the world we could meet and play to crowds. We even did it live at places like the Brooklyn Academy of Music and the Museo Tamayo in Mexico City. We made countless websites and small net art curios, we were shown internationally and our work was included in many books and publications at the time.

Tiring of the Internet in 2003 we turned our attention to videogames by founding Tale of Tales. We took 2 years as post-grad design researchers with the Jan Van Eyck Academy in Maastricht and taught ourselves how videogames were made. Our fist project, an epic free-roaming videogame based on the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty, called “8”, was born and grew up with more questions than answers. This first project ended in failure but was a 2 year initiation to game development. We set about taking the game industry to task for how commerce was placed over artistry. We were happy when independent game development became feasible. We shifted away from the inward looking narratives of our net art days to instead tell original stories. We adjusted ourselves to a much bigger world than the sequestered net art scene. We found out what it took to make a professional videogame project and how to speak to the audiences we would like to play with. I found that what I loved to do most was create digital environments and atmospheres. That players could feel like they were inside them and I got to receive their reaction was what I lived for. The transition into “Game Designer” and 3D Artist was significant for me. I believed that videogame technology, Realtime 3D, would prove to be just as significant a medium for digital artists as the web was, if not more-so. More importantly videogames offered an opportunity to communicate with a very large audience, one which is not so used to thinking about Art but was attentive and open minded to artistic experience, whether they were aware of it or not. Videogames are the place where Art and Interaction and Entertainment blur and can become something new.

Over 13 years we released 8 videogames. Our first release was in 2005, multiplayer game “The Endless Forest” is still playable online and has a thriving community to this day. We wrote the Realtime Art Manifesto in 2006 based on our desire to see more artists using the medium of videogames. We further defined that philosophy with our notgames initiative around 2010, which was a call for all developers to design realtime software beyond known videogame genres and tropes. Along with Cologne Gamelab, in 2011, 2013 and 2015 we curated “notgames Fest” which was a bi-annual festival of such games. We are perhaps best known for The Graveyard (2008) which was the purest expression of our game design philosophy, and The Path (2009) which is our best-selling videogame and both were also the highly controversial when released: for simplicity of design, the focus on women, and presentation of ideas about growing up, living and dying as opposed to mere gaming. Our games Fatale (2009) based on Oscar Wilde’s play Salome, and Bientôt l’été (2011) a holodeck simulation tribute to french novelist Marguerite Duras were more passion prijects, in the sense that we just made them because we felt they needed to exist. We received the IGF Nuovo Award for Luxuria Superbia in 2014 and made our last videogame in 2015 with the release of political drama, “Sunset”. After that I felt I had nothing else to say with the format of commercial videogames.

Around 2011, I had some rather formative drawing lessons at Sint-Lucas Academy in Ghent and at Studio Escalier in Paris which helped me look back at my love of Art History with great intensity. My lifelong passion for drawing became a focal point for me to remember why I started making anything at all in the first place. This was the start of whatever it is I am doing now.

After videogames, life is in motion. I look to the synthesis of what I know about artistic collaborations with computers, game engines, Three dimensional form and 3D material. I currently focus on VR projects and 3D Printing. Michaël and I have a few things in the works: VR simulaitons and physical installations. I teach. In 2016-2017 at Parsons Paris I taught drawing and digital imaging and digital sculpture. In 2018 I began the first department of Games at Kassel University School of Fine Arts (Kunsthochschule Kassel, kHkGames).