Videogame world and game instructions
Exeter School of Art, Queen Street, Exeter
4 December 2019
The ExIST STEAMM Show was an interactive exhibition of commercial, research and creative projects from the south west which combine arts, sciences and technology. For me, this was an opportunity to pilot my latest work.
“Minecraft Climate Quest” is a visualisation of the UK Climate Projections 2018 as maps in a Minecraft world. The maps show how temperatures and rainfall could change in future decades. There are four scenarios, which loosely correspond to how serious governments and business are in combating climate breakdown. The Climate Quest lets you choose and leads you through a number of future possibilities. Also, each map is labelled, so you can wander and explore to your heart’s content.
During the day, Exeter School of Art was open to primary schools and students from Exeter College. The primary school lads made a beeline for Minecraft, and while I watched proceeded to pour lava everywhere. Irony? Metaphor? Conceptual art?! I let folks loose in a Minecraft world about climate futures, and they burn it down! Thankfully I had a copy I could upload. We, however, have no Planet B.
In the evening there was a reception for the general public, at which I had a good few conversations and there was plenty of interest.
The overall message of the pilot, though, is that Minecraft is a fun way of visualising, but there are too many inherent obstacles for it to be useful and accessible: for the younger audience, the distraction of Minecraft as game; for the older audience the perception that Minecraft is for the younger audience and the need to purchase a licence to play. So it’s back to the drawing board!
By the way, ExIST is the Exeter Initiative for Science & Technology, a sub-group of Exeter Chamber of Commerce and Industry which aims to support local science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM) businesses, increase awareness, build relationships, and encourage investment. STEAMM explores how the creative arts and STEMM skills can be combined.
I exhibited alongside other innovators, artists and institutions from across the region, including Kaleider, the South West Creative Technology Network, FabLab Devon, Plymouth College of Art and University of Plymouth’s i-DAT research lab. It was good to meet and catch up with them, and see their latest work.