A quirky, bizarrely fun mishmash of technology, gaming, people and art culminated in the climax of the A Maze / Interact Festival. Held in Johannesburg, South Africa between August 28th and September 2nd 2012 the festival was established to celebrate the “convergence of game and art”.
Written by Lisa Kolwa
The A Maze concept began in 2008 and is a global collective promoting cultural interaction, dedicated to gaming and media art. Partnering with the Goethe-Institut, the goal of the festival in Johannesburg was to establish and create an annual platform for Euro-African interaction through media arts and gaming developers.
A six day programme was set involving lectures, exhibitions, game screenings, workshops, arcades, parties, live performances and closing with a live concert that merged music and gaming. Lectures and exhibitions were held at various venues in Johannesburg such as Wits University and the University of Johannesburg. These workshops covered numerous topics by academic experts and developers in the gaming and media industry; such as South Africa’s very own television personality Pippa Tshabalala, a former Wits University Digital Animation lecturer.
The festival was a playground for those who appreciate alternative forms of media art and entertainment, seeking to develop personal skills or simply to appreciate this alternative, growing art form.
The A MAZE / Interact Festival closed with a “Jump N Run Party”, a concert featuring various musicians from Germany, Spain, Japan and South Africa and certainly left a resounding “doof, doof” in the minds and ears of all who witnessed it. A key moment of the night featured one of the festivals themes; gaming technology integrated with music. Dutch WiiJ Timski provided techno sounds through interactive deejaying with the Nintendo Wii console in live action. Another curious highlight of the evening saw for some the resurrection of the Nintendo Gameboy through Latin artist Meneo who used the seemingly extinct handheld console to to churn out wild electric beats.
The festival certainly closed with having solidified one of its purposes in creating a platform for interaction between like-minded individuals who have a common interest in seeing their form of gaming and media art grow and spread across continents and globally. It will certainly be an event to look out for to catch up on the latest gaming moves and cheats; forward, forward, back, up…finish!
Photography by Lerato Maduna and Kutlwano Moagi