Patient Rituals is an interactive performance installation piece in which the artist, as performer in the role of a dealer or an oracle, engage with players through an emergent narrative experience. Using a 'deck' of vignettes, players experience three small games in a varying sequences dependent upon the shuffling of the deck.
My name is Andre Blyth and I am a New Media Artist working primarily in videogames and video art. I received my B.F.A. in Photomedia at the University of Washington before deciding to shift my focus to games and systems art. I am currently an M.F.A. candidate in Emergent Digital Practices at the University of Denver in Colorado. My design philosophy is closely related the concepts of small games, artgames, and notgames.
Patient Rituals is a collection of videogame vignettes that are presented to players in the form of a deck of cards handled by a performer. Patient Rituals is an investigation into emergent narrative devices, performance art, and alternative systems in videogames.
Vignettes, from literature, means a short, poetic description or episode. Appropriating this short form (and term coined by Ian Bogost) was the initial basis for this project, in which I would create small, poetic games as a collection in a greater narrative.
Patient Rituals was heavily influenced by the Tarot, both in the elements found in the vignettes as well as in the final form the project has taken. The Tarot is particularly fascinating as a device for emergent narrative, as each card has its own meanings but those meanings are altered by what cards appear alongside it and in what order each card is dealt. The intertextuality of the cards is what creates the meaning. Likewise, the narrative of my games has as much to do with gaps between vignettes as it does with what is actually presented on screen.
In researching my games relationship to the Tarot (of which the writings of Mattie Brice and Mike Joffe were both relevant and timely), I decided to really push the more performative aspects of the deck into my practice. Using RFID cards as the deck provided a bridge between the physical object and the digital games, resulting in a system that allowed players and myself to physically manipulate a deck of games. This experimentation in hardware led me to the final iteration of this project, and interactive performance using games.