By Ana Gómez and Clara Harguindey
This route proposes an exploration of the works that inspired the imagery of the video game Nubla.
The game is a “new” interactive medium for telling stories based on “new” virtual logics rather than conventional linear narratives. Nubla is a collaborative project developed by the museum’s Education Department that aims to draw connections between technology and art, creating dialogues and synergies from a creative, critical perspective. Therefore, the intention is not to conduct a thorough, conclusive survey of art history, but to find shared visions in it and generate stories, connections and new narratives.
Una de sus principales particularidades es que se trata de un videojuego diseñado desde dentro del museo, cuyos Part of what makes this video game unique is the fact that it was designed inside the museum, and its settings and storyline are based on works in the collection. The game takes us on a journey through a universe where the death of creativity has made time stand still and memories fade. Identity, territory, the border, the city and dreams are just some of the themes used to articulate the game’s discourse and chart our course through the museum halls.
In this long-term creative laboratory, pictures are the benchmark and inspiration for all of the imagery and become challenges in the game. Touring and discovering the museum, identifying possible links between the video game’s storyline and painting, and making up stories that create visual and semantic connections between different artworks were some of the ideas that inspired and guided us in the process of developing this project. How the paintings are observed, imagined and associated with the game narrative is not determined by author or context; instead, it follows a freer, more transversal relational system, a process closer to that employed by Aby Warburg when devising his Mnemosyne Atlas or “Memory Atlas”, an extensive system of panels in which he sought to establish new kinds of associations between images from different contexts. Thus, we arrived at the premises of the scenarios and narrative by addressing and then thoroughly examining some of these works, proposing themes for contemporary reflection and thought that allow us to debate and share ideas
The game’s story begins in the halls of the museum, where five historical characters invite us to choose one of them and set off on a journey that will take us beyond the paintings. The mission: to visit places in a long-forgotten world and retrieve memories, the shards of life experience that were left behind. After this first part, the journey continues through other territories that no longer exist in dreams, places where time has stopped. Our characters, accompanied by Nubla, will face challenges, tests and enemies as they try to keep the creativity and memory of that world from disappearing forever.
Combining the classic visual language of painting with the most contemporary audiovisual technology (typical of interactive video-game narratives) is an interesting way to expand the knowledge stored in museums and transfer it to new media—and consequently to new audiences.
As an interactive audiovisual device, the video game can be a powerful tool for telling exciting stories. In a concrete fictional world organised according to specific rules, players will make their own decisions and determine how the story unfolds as an active participant, for we believe that the best way to learn is through creativity and empathy. Ratifying our own senses in small, seemingly foreign spheres of reality makes us feel that this reality affects and concerns us directly, forcing us to get involved and take sides.
In a process like that which unfolds in Nubla, it is interesting to see the obvious narrative potential of artworks, something we often overlook because we are caught up in the aura of the masterpiece or the artist’s technical prowess. Works of art are filled with people and places that spark our imagination: women lost in thought, sitting in a hotel room or at a vanity table, waiting for something yet to come; cities where all of the inhabitants are running in no particular direction; or small universes created out of broken glasses, discarded bits of wood and starfish. They all invite us to imagine stories, ask questions and invent possible answers and futures. This narrative capacity and spirit of discovery is something we want to make visitors aware of as they peruse the selected artworks, turning the museum into a place for weaving and sharing stories.