Children of the Bureaucrats of the Revolution | Overview

Children of the Bureaucrats of the Revolution is a set of dances created with the Quake II game engine >>. For those unfamiliar with the Quake game series, new media professor Clay Shirky has written an essay entitled Playfulness in 3-D Spaces >>. In this article he pinpoints two reasons for Quake's significance and its continued popularity. The first is the game's power to render 3-D spaces: Quake, and its predecessor Doom, were first in bringing to the average computer user a real-time 3-D space, and this 3-D experience was immersive enough that the player would begin to *think* within the logic of the game's invented worlds. In other words, Quake was a significant step in the development of a convincing virtual reality.

Nowadays there are many computer games and programs which present sophisticated 3-D worlds. An important reason for Quake's enduring popularity is Id Software's decision to open the game's source code. This has empowered the game's players to become the game's hackers, enabling the growth of large communities devoted to creating innovative uses for the 3-D engine. Some of these game modifications could not have been imagined by Quake's creators. Among these surprising uses are: machinima (a new method of animation and cinema); architectural walk-throughs; and even a wedding setting, whose guests could attend via the Internet.

Using some of these tools developed by the Quake community and modifying them for my own use, I have recorded a set of dances collectively named Children of the Bureaucrats of the Revolution. Rather than seeing these dances from an outside perspective, they are recorded from the viewpoints of the dancers, and these viewpoints are displayed simultaneously on adjacent video monitors. The dances themselves are composed of the basic elements of movement, rhythm, form, implicit rules, and improvisation. On top of this, the display format of multiple simultaneous viewpoints complicates the experience, as the viewer's sympathies continually align and shift with those of the dancers. The effect is complex and not fully conveyed by the stills \/ below.




Id Software >> for creating the Quake games and more importantly for opening the game source and specs to its fans. Conor 'TheKoron' Davis for creating Quake II Relay >>, saving me a huge amount of development effort. I also used Uwe Girlich's Little Movie Processing Center (LMPC) for decompiling Quake II demo files >>. I also thank bigOnes >> for kindly allowing me to use his map vigO's Courtyard.


Included in Internet Art >> by Rachel Greene, published by Thames & Hudson.

Children of the Bureaucrats of the Revolution shown in L'OADING exhibition >> at the Galleria Civica d'Arte Contemporanea Montevergini in Siracusa, Italy, January 2003.

Select Parks >> maintains a list of experiments with game engines (including my piece). Click on the [ games development ] link.

Children of the Bureaucrats of the Revolution presented on >>.