Kingdom Ka #3 – Show, Don’t Tell

It’s been a short while since I last posted. Kingdom Ka has come along way in the past handful of weeks. I’ve more or less been building the parts of the game that peak my interest in spots, so everything exists as just bits and pieces at the moment. I’m eager for that moment when I put the final puzzle piece in and everything can start flowing, but I’m far away from that still.

I’ve been sharing and showing parts of the game to whomever’s shown interest, and I’ve had such positive response so far. The general consensus is that while I there seems to be this ‘grandiose’ vision of what it’s all supposed to mean, everyone’s always curious about exactly what I’m trying to accomplish with the piece. It’s funny that while some love the ambiguity, others find it frustrating. And time and time again I’m reminded: I’m a designer – what is it I’m actually designing? Because I don’t want ‘Kingdom Ka’ to be ‘art’. I have high respect for fine artists, but I’ve had to work hard to demonstrate that Kingdom Ka isn’t colours on a wall. It isn’t representing anything emotional, and it isn’t a personal response. I think it’s geekier than that, it’s a bit more like an essay. It’s taking the points made by other people at other points in time and drawing a conclusion – I’m just attempting to show those points rather then tell them. I can’t afford to have a moment that feels like it isn’t rooted in any kind of concept or history, because then the audience will just cut right through it.

We were fortunate enough to have designer James Langdon come to give a lecture, and he brought up a few points that I really admired – particularly regarding his fascination with designer Norman Potter (who I didn’t realize was one of the founders of my own University space). Potter was a designer but had an almost jaded poetry in his approach to his work and design. Potter writes in his infamous ‘What Is A Designer’:

Should a designer design for a factory in which he could never imagine working as an operative? Is design social-realist art? Is it handy to be in a state of moral grace when designing a knife and fork? Does design work justify its claims to social usefulness, or is it a privileged form of self-expression? Is a profession a genteel self-protection society with some necessary illusions? Should a designer be a conformist or an agent of change? Those who feel that such questions are diversionary and a waste of time, should perhaps put this book down; others read on, but not for easy answers.
Amazing stuff. But Potter also wrote his own stage play, titled ‘In:quest of Icarus’. The play itself is drawn from Potter’s own fascination of the Greek Myth – wherein Icarus flies, well, too close to the sun. And so there’s this incredible dynamic where James Langdon decided to re-stage the play, but was incredibly cautious not to fly too close to the sun himself, and ruin this source material that he respects so much. Of course, below that, I’ve no doubt Potter felt a weight to do the stories, hundreds of years old, enough justice to honour them as his inspiration.
Langdon described it as – you’re an explorer whose just uncovered a long lost ancient tomb. In the tomb, there’s a moldy loaf of bread. Do you eat the bread? Well, I think most people can tell its moldy by looking at it – you don’t need to tell them.
Some more development so far:


Also, louisdurrant.co.uk has a new look, which you can check out.

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