This Interview is part one of a three part series on Art and Video Games, followed by a discussion with Patricia on the topic of Video Games as Art and another solo blogpost on the topic analyzing further. Part one serves as traditional interview and introduction to our guest.
Hello Patty, thank you for taking the time to do this with me. How are you, how have you been?
I – you know, all things considered? I’m doing alright.
Yeah, it’s been a couple of crazy days, well crazy isn’t quite the word for it.
Couple of harrowing, apocalyptic-ass days.
But I don’t want to stick around in current affairs too much, first I wanted to ask you about your Art. You’re a musician, you do youtube, I don’t know that you do anything else, at least I’m not aware that you do a lot of any other Arts.
I’ve been beginning to dabble in ink drawing actually, but that’s it.
Interesting! How did you get to that?
Well, sometimes I have a lot of time on my paws and I… do a little stippling. Apparently people are marginally impressed by the little doodles I’ve done so far. Yeah, that’s it. I do Music and I do Youtube.
Where would you place yourself in the greater world of Music–
In the canon?
Yes! [Laughs] Where would you place yourself in the western canon?
Uhm, I think I have a particular niche making very autistic Music. That’s sort of where I’ve gotten, making Music that tickles your brain and feels a bit like stimming.
Actually, listening to “Waiting for Narcissa” earlier, that’s a comment I saw and I must say I got that feeling too. Would you say that’s something you did from the start? Because I must admit it’s been a while since I listened to your early work.
Yeah, it’s not something I did from the start. It’s always something I wanted to do, I’ve always been a big Autechre fangirl ever since 2014 or something. And.. I didn’t know it at the time but I like them so much because they speak to my brain and how I process sound. But to emulate them and that kind of sound takes a lot of technical skill that I only recently came into contact with.
As a Visual Arts guy, I must say Music is a bit arcane to me. Can you explain what it took to get to where you’re at? Because to me– I always got the impression that you were already really good.
[Laughs] It took a lot of experimentation cause it’s not like playing an instrument where you do rudiments all day every day. It’s definitely… Like, I think Electronic Music is a lot like painting, you kind of have the whole piece in front of you at once and are just like arranging the materials.
Mhm, yeah I see.
So, getting where I am is essentially just gaining an ear for the frequencies. [laughs] And getting an affinity for the synthesis software that I use.
One thing that I found interesting in my own Art I guess, is my own limitations. Going from being unable to do anything to suddenly relating to Instagram memes about specifically not being able to draw feet or something. Where do you see your limitations in your Art? Is there something you really wanna overcome..
Let’s say in the next months.
If I’m gonna be completely honest, right now I’m exactly where I wanna be. I think I’m top of my class in terms of like, production side of things, the mixing, the sound design. I’m coasting at the moment.
That’s really good, I don’t think a lot of people can say that about their growth. Another thing I was interested about, watching your videos, I always come out wanting to listen to at least three new albums. Is there any Music you can really recommend right now that people should engage with?
Well as I already mentioned. I do consider Autechre some of the best. They’ve been a big inspiration.
Speaking of things you like, today’s topic is supposed to be Video Games and Art. I wanted to ask you, what do you value in Art in general?
Many things… Being aware of its place in the meta-narrative? Art that perhaps, interrogates the medium that is in, at least a little. Or, at least has some amount of love for the medium that it’s in.
What are some examples?
Well, I have a video about it. Right now I’m just gonna say, before that video comes out, the simplest example I can think of is this game called Adastra (NSFW Warning). If I were to describe it, I’d say it’s half sci-fi bureaucracy and half like, erotic gay furry visual novel. And it’s like, subversive not in the Doki Doki Literature Club way where it like, pretends to be a visual novel for a couple of hours and then shows its hand eventually. It subverts your expectations by exceeding them. It’s such a spectacularly well written piece of… furry porn. It’s the simplest possible example of very sincere and aware of its position in the meta-narrative cause it is simultaneously very challenging and very indulgent and I think that will come across to anyone who reads it.
I’m not very well versed in furry anything, but you know sometimes stuff pops up. And I really do think that there is some of the most high quality Artwork, I don’t know about games specifically, but some of the highest quality Artwork, Music too, coming from that space.
Yeah, yeah! It’s weird just how much better it is on average than other Art. I can’t quite understand why. I think it’s because the act of drawing furries itself is a bit of a… humbling maneuver. Like you kinda have to preclude yourself from being taken fully seriously, and then nonetheless still express everything in spite of that. I think that’s where beauty lives.
I find it’s a little bit depressing, what stops people from enjoying it… would you say is…
The cringe-reflex. Cringe is a very complicated emotion. And Art that seeks to make you sit with complicated emotions for prolonged periods of time are usually pretty good. I like those. [Laughs]
I wonder how this Art will be seen in, I don’t know, 10 or maybe 20 years. I think there’s something there.
I truly think, let me just say. Within the furry fandom, everyone fucking automatically knows that Echo Projects are making the new frontier of games story telling— are these furry visual novels. It’s not as well known outside of it, but I’ve been proselytising about it, over and over again to anyone who will listen and I’ve had many satisfied customer testimonies! [Laughs]
I really need to get on it, I saw you tweet about Adastra but I haven’t played it yet.
Fair warning, it is firmly an 18+ experience. There is illustrated dick in it.
Yes, I suppose it’s important to mention this for the readers.
Yeah, because again, one of the sex scenes in this game was so emotionally cathartic that it made me cry. Like, it’s that kind of experience.
And some people say sex scenes are unneccesary..
Yeah, well. Fucking rubes. I can’t believe that take manages to get through twitter every few months. It’s searingly short-sighted. I used to say watch La Pianiste when people said that. But then I realized that it’s a lot funnier to say play Adastra. [Laughs]
[Laughs] While we’re on the topic of eroge, there is a game whose creator did an interesting interview a while back, DoL which despite being a porn game and essentially just being slightly better than all the rest… manages to make you invested in these lines of text.
Yeah… It’s interesting but let me be clear. Adastra is not good for a furry porn game, like it’s not “above that flock”. The bar was very low but Adastra is in space nonetheless. In my top 10 games ever made.
You’ve been really singing its praise. Actually, while this would make a good segue to my next question, I do want to ask something else about what you said before. You said there is a video in the making, about Adastra? Or, about games in general.
It’s got a lot of stuff, it’s a bit of a Jacob Geller type joint if you’re aware of him.
I do but do you mind saying something for the readers?
So, I bring up a lot of disparate subjects trying to put words to a very particular set of qualities I think makes the piece of Art truly great. And Adastra is merely one of the examples I have because it’s so shockingly self-assured in its own existence, like it’s obviously very aware about how silly the concept is. A sci-fi political drama slow-burn furry erotica but it still barrels forward despite that. It’s this kind of self-awareness beyond self-awareness. Self-awareness that might initially not look like it. Another thing I mention is Everything Everywhere All At Once which came out recently. I think it also embodies this thing beyond self-awareness. Because it’s so silly but still played completely straight the entire time and is nonetheless completely breathtaking. It’s like, disarming humility.
I’m sad because I’ve been trying to watch it since it released but haven’t gotten the opportunity. Everyone seems to love that movie.
It really is that good. I’m normally skeptical about “New A24 movie making the rounds on film twitter” but no, it’s actually stupendously good.
I saw someone on twitter describe it as perhaps the first contact many people, the general audience, will have with film Art. Which of course is… somewhat exaggerated but we’ve had many good movies in recent times and for it to get such high praises must means it did something right.
Yeah, it’s one of the weirdest films I would recommend to everyone. I’d like it to be the first “strange” film everyone sees.
I think that’s actually an important quality great Art should have. You should want to tell everyone about it.
Yeah I like Art that generates this kind of giddiness in me.
Yeah, absolutely. I don’t know how it was for you but the reason why I became interested in Art and Video Games as Art is because when I was young I just got really excited about these games in general. Moving on though, do you have a favorite Artist? Or, is it more of “here’s a list of 16 people that sorta occupy that spot”?
I think there’s very few people that fit the caliber of Great Artist and also I have explored enough to feel like I’m an authority on them. So [Laughs] Autechre, both members. Howly, the author behind Adastra and 3/5ths of Echo… Michael Haneke. I’m so stupid. I’m a dumbass.
For me I have to say, one of my favourites is still Hayao Miyazaki. As cringe as it is, he has a special place in my heArt.
Yeah no, if anything Ghibli movies aren’t overrated enough.
I think as a body of work they’re maybe overrated because they’re rather similar. But every singular Ghibli movie is great. Not that I’ve watched all of them.
Yeah, there are a few I didn’t like at first or I really liked when I was a puppy but then stopped liking and then revisited in adulthood. Like I recently discovered that Pom Poko is an unstoppable classic. That’s an underrated one.
The discussion with Patricia will continue in Part 2 that will be released tomorrow. (Link will be added here when the post is up.)