Patabotany #2: Grow your own Worlds

groWorld-randomGarden-01 - Tale of Tales
groWorld-randomGarden-01 – Tale of Tales

Foam’s groWorld initiative, begun in 2007 and still in operation, is a many headed hydra exploring vegetal syncretism with workshops, conference discussions and art exhibitions – details of which can be found here. One particular groWorld interest is in the patafusion of permaculural idioms to the world of gaming. Much has been written about the need for liberation in video games from the ubiquitous and inane shootem-up scenario.

Dave Griffiths has been documenting the development of a set of patabotanical gameworlds at his site related to the groWorld initiative. His Plant Eyes game, developed with his own open prototyping engine Fluxus, allows the player to take on the role of a plant and roam through an organic environment utilising nutrients to grow into new plant forms.

Mandrake from A Pictorial History of Ancient Pharmacy (1902) - Peters, Hermann
Mandrake from A Pictorial History of Ancient Pharmacy (1902) – Peters, Hermann

Tale of Tales, a games development studio lab specialising in poetic gaming paradigms, have also contributed some patabotanical game prototypes. There are no ruined texture-mapped citadels pock-marked from the ricochets of bullets to found in this lush blue-tinged multi-player jungle.

Woman as a plant – plant as a man. Combining a bifurcating root formation that resembles the human form and containing a psychedelic concoction of tropane alkaloids, the Mandrake (‘Djinn’s eggs’ in Arabic) is an emblem of vegetable-human synthesis. Mandrake ‘generates alpha brain-wave activity, similar to that found in REM sleep, generating hypnotic landscapes of the internal gameworld.

Aljazar – Live coded robot music (Also by Dave Griffiths)

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