The Technoculture, Art and Games Research Centre presents, as part of the milieuXbauhaus festival at the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology, Concordia University, Montreal (Nov 5-14, 2019):
“The ultimate goal of all creative activity is building!… Architects,
sculptors, painters—we all must return to (Mine)craft”
– Walter Gropius, Bauhaus Manifesto, 1919
Minecraft is the most popular videogame of all time with millions of players worldwide. As a game about blocks and grids, exploration and control, darkness and light; it stands as a potent allegory for all of modernity – just like the Bauhaus. In this centennial year since the founding of the iconic Bauhaus school, scholars and artists around the world are reflecting on its legacy, and its profound impact on our everyday lives and imagination.
Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG) brings Minecraft and Bauhaus together though a project reflexively building as Bauhaus in a custom modded multiplayer survival mode game lasting 30 days. Others have used Minecraft as a platform for engaging with the architectural legacy of the Bauhaus but they do this in a “creative mode” without consequences; the buildings are stripped of their context and they function as empty exemplars of the myth – a fantasy about modern architecture and design. Our project asks what does it mean to be modern; to build like the modern that the Bauhaus wished to call forth.
The prompt is simple. Our group of builders will modernize a village in Minecraft all the while interpreting, emulating and enacting design principles from the historical Bauhaus as we encounter the problems of resource extraction and exploitation, the politics of urban renewal, assumptions about material logistics and infrastructure, the negotiation of idealized plans and the situatedness of actions and yes, the zombies and creepers of national socialism… or is it capitalism (you decide).
If building is your ultimate goal then join us for this once in a lifetime adventure. You do not need any special expertise in either Bauhaus or Minecraft to benefit from this project.
Participation is open to all Milieux Institute members, if you are interested contact Gina Hara (firstname.lastname@example.org) before October 4th. Please make sure you can participate in project launch meeting and information session on Oct 4 at 10:00am. A Minecraft 101 workshop will also be offered for new players.
Simon, Bart and Wershler, Darren, “Childhood’s End or We Have Never been Modern except in Minecraft“ Cultural Politics, 14:3 (2018). 289-303
Hara, Gina, “Your Place or Minecraft?” documentary web-series (2016). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_1NLIV45Xw&list=PLGZ6ug3EZmxPJc6JwqknC4khU1ZXPx0Of
Watson, Nic, “Minecraft modding practices: The rationalization of a digital participatory culture” Paper presented at Media In Transition 10 conference, MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA (2019, May).