Malath is a brilliant artist, producer and games designer championing collaboration. We chat through his journey to Dundee from Baghdad to forming Biome games collective in Dundee.
After moving Liverpool in 1991 Mal found his love of computer games through PC gaming titles like DOOM when he was at school. He then recalls saving up hard to get his hands on his first console, the playstation. After technology and gaming captured his interest he decided to study programming at university and then went on to work at several different games companies.
Mal first came to Dundee for the Dare to be Digital festival and a while later decided to create a company with a model to challenge traditional games companies. He co-founded Biome collective – A co-working space and company for people who want to create, collaborate and explore games, digital art and technology. Although games is primarily what Biome works on they tend to explore a much more experimental and more art based practice. It’s great to see someone challenging the traditional model and using collaboration to diversify their practice.
Killbox, their drone warfare based experience is more of an art installation. It’s currently on a world tour and I first got the chance to play it a couple of years ago at the Dundee Design Festival. It delivers an experience of drone warfare from 2 perspectives the pilot and the target. In traditional gaming there is no sense of empathy in blowing up a target but Killbox is carefully crafted to invoke a powerful and often emotional response to a horrible reality. It shows gaming in a whole other light and how powerful it can be used in a different context.
We also talked about Mal’s experience of visiting GDC one of the biggest world wide games conferences. He was denied entry to the United States due to a trip he had made to see his family back in Iraq a few years previously. After he was denied entry a bit of a social media frenzy helped him get a visa and all was sorted out.
Mal and Biome are constantly producing interesting work that is engaging and thought provoking, long may it continue and I hope it inspires more people like it in Dundee.
I’d also like to say thanks to this week’s sponsor – Joan Clevillé Dance and their production of The North on at Dundee Rep Theatre on Saturday the 30th of September at 8pm.
The performance will be BSL interpreted by Jennifer Ramsay and you can join the discussion with Joan and the dancers after the show.
You can book tickets here: cccdundee.com/thenorth
Or give Dundee Rep Theatre a call on 01382 223 530
Here’s a little description of what to expect from The North:
It’s a place we all know but have never been… A forest, a desert of ice. The land of ancient gods, wild animals and strange creatures. The home of the Terrible and the Sublime…
After their acclaimed debut Plan B for Utopia, Joan Clevillé Dance returns with The North, the bleak yet whimsical story of John, a young man who finds himself lost in the harsh yet delicate wilderness of the North with only himself and two eccentric Northerners for company. Without any memory of who he is or where he comes from, John searches for his own identity in an increasingly unpredictable environment, a place where being lost is the norm and letting go the only way to survive.
Blending elements from dance, physical theatre and puppetry, The North features cinematic visual and sound design with original music by Luke Sutherland and an eclectic soundtrack from Wagner to Frank Sinatra.
Find out more at www.joanclevilledance.com
The Company invite visual artists, designers or anyone who wants to practice their drawing skills to a free open rehearsal of The North on Sat 30 Sep between 4-6pm at Dundee Rep. Drop in for a chance to observe and sketch the dancers as they work onstage in an ever changing environment.
Mal’s Twitter – https://twitter.com/maltron3D
Biome Collective – http://www.biomecollective.com/
Biome Twitter – https://twitter.com/biomecollective
Bizarre Creations – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bizarre_Creations
Killbox – https://www.killbox.info/
GDC – http://www.gdconf.com/
Giant Robo – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_Robo_(OVA)
Inside – http://www.playdead.com/games/inside/
Other – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/other/id640816486?mt=8
Podcast recommendation #04 – 99% Invisible – http://99percentinvisible.org/