A few weeks ago we were chatting with Xavier Campos on architecture and illustration, today we give a jump of the hand of Enrique Parra and Manuel Saga to know a bit more the MetaSpace project an adventure on the relation between the video games and the architecture. Both are defined like
“First of all players from the infancy and big fans of the culture freak. We think about the digital space as one more cultural manifestation, which establishes bows with the urban thing, the architectural thing, the artistic thing, the anthropologic thing … The digital thing is not not better not worse than the physical thing: It has different times, different aims, uses different resources. The architecture of the physical thing and the architecture of the digital thing are complementary currents but for nothing parallel bars. One cannot be studied without other one, but they are not comparable in similar terms either”.
But what is Metaspace? Since according to his creators it is
“A project of digital diffusion dedicated exclusively to the relation of the architecture and the urbanism with the audio-visual languages, that is to say, the digital space that we can explore while we play or that is showed us across the cinema. MetaSpace, spaces inside spaces, foxgloves instead of physicists but not for it less royal. With the word Metaespacio we us like to say to the part of the Metaverso (the digital reality) that there is crossed, that is experienced, that has space, atmosphere.”
“It is a very wide category, almost we might say that infinite. For us it is to the architect of the 21st century what the cinema for the architect of the first half of the 20th century. Why there does not exist then a space dedicated completely to it? A rapid search in google throws many results, is a topic that is interested, but that always appears as part of a more wide and general project of diffusion.”
Nowadays they operate from his own platform MetaSpaceblog, but it arose as Pedacicos Arquitectónicos‘ “spin-off””spin-off” it does slightly more than one year. In her texts are published on digital spaces, reviews of video games, on movies and series that have a high dose of architecture. As any digital project if you want to receive daily information, you can follow across his twitter @metaspaceblog, that they describe like
“capsules of constant information!”
Which has been your formation and professional path before “MetaSpace”?
Enrique Parra (EP): The truth is that so much Manuel since me we have had a very similar path. He is an architect for the University of Granada and Magíster for the University of The Andes (Colombia); whereas I for my part was entitled in technical architecture and later in the Degree in Architecture in the UCAM. Before finishing our studies we begin to write in different blogs and to have a digital strong enough presence inside the architectural circles, giving us the possibility of investigating in these tangential aspects to the architecture that not always they fit in the study plans.
¿Qué os llevó a pensar en arquitectura y videojuegos?
Manuel Saga (MS): We knew ourselves for our work in the networks and in diverse blogs. Architectural Pedacicos already it was coming publishing content on video games for time, in the shape of “Do you recognize it?” And articles of reflection. I for my part had referred to the topic in several occasions and had written a short post for StepienyBarno.This it was our point of meeting; from there I began to collaborate with Enrique in Pedacicos, and after our first texts on Bioshock, Final Fantasy VII, Arkham City and The Banner Saga we decide to mount an own project centred on the architecture and the video games.
For what project of digital diffusion for “MetaSpace”?
EP: Since somehow we liked the idea of entering a bit more depth a topic that is mentioned often but very above. The relation of the architecture with the cinema, the television or the theatre is something very studied and that is very present; nevertheless scarcely material exists on architecture and video games, as with the most fantastic cinema, when the architecture stops to be a context and an instrument turns. We liked to return to play very much some of these classic video games (and not so classic), to return to see some of our favorite movies or even to analyze others that are sticking loudly at present, looking at everything now from an architectural optics.
MetaSpace Blog is our small contribution to the spreading of a topic in which there are many professionals working and that seems that to the end it is started considering to be a labor royal exit.
Had you some previous experience in the digital world?
MS: Yes, we belong to the world for already enough time. Enrique is one of the founders of Pedacicos Arquitectónicos,, a students’ blog of architecture born in 2011, with a lot of variety of contents and a very very personal tone. I for my part entered to the digital world for a more academic route, across URBS Revista de Estudios Urbanos y Ciencias Sociales in 2010 and his associate project blogURBS in 2013, both spaces constructed from the social sciences and the environmental psychology. On the other hand so much Enrique since me we are correspondents of Blog Fundación ARQUIA and have collaborated with other publications as Periódico CA: Cine y Arquitectura, The AAAA Magazine and recently in Plataforma Arquitectura.
Did you meet many difficulties? Which were the most problematic?
EP: The certain thing is that not too much. In the first moment the biggest difficulty was that Manuel resides Bogota (Colombia) and I in Lorca (Murcia); for what there are some activities that we have foreseen for the project and have them had postpone. But also it is true that the fact of being in two different countries has allowed us to be present in events that of another form it had been unthinkable.
On the other hand, the biggest challenge which we want to face is to come to the public gamer and freak so much like to the architectural one; one of these things that, in general, all the publications of architecture should appear seriously.
Are you satisfied with the reached aims?
MS: For the present our numbers are not very high, but we like to think that it is because we have a very select hearing (laughs). The truth is that the topic “architecture, cinema and video games” is very specific and it provokes that we have more impact because of this singularity that for brute number of readers. We like when our offer remains recorded in the memory of the people, even in architects who have special interest neither in the video games nor in the culture freak but who possess us. In fact we have received several calls of means and traditional universities that look for us to organize activity or seminars on these topics.
It is precisely in this context where we feel more satisfied with the result: The public is implied very much, the whole world has recollections with one or another title that marked his infancy, especially the youngest people. It turns out to be exciting when there are persons who take part counting his own experiences with the video games and thinking about them from the topics that we propose.
What expectations and projects of future have you for “MetaSpace”?
EP: About that we could speak? Almost none… (wink). There are many things in the air, many “dishonest” offers that we would be been charmed with of agreeing but that still they have to blow up a bit more. At the moment we have organized the half of this season, which with the chaos of life that we take both already is to say enough …
Something that yes we bear in mind increasingly is the need to continue our formation and to orientate her towards this topic. We a today are not specialists, at least on the paper, simply we have joined two of our passions to share them with anxious people as us.
Are this type of initiatives profitable?
MS: They it might be, but ours for the present it is not.
¿Os sentís bien remunerados por la labor que realizáis?
MS: Not, at least economically. MetaSpace is for us a long-term bet. For the present our principal aims have been to construct our brand and a precedent sat. Very few people look at the video games from the architecture, and certainly nobody it does in the same way that we; when we speak about cinema it is different, is a much more based interest, though often the titles to which we refer are not “the most famous” either. It has been an advantage for MetaSpace as project but also for us in our professional careers. Enrique for example has presented several contests very influenced by the aesthetics of the art design of games as Bioshock or LIMBO. It has served my me very much in the academic area, so much at the moment of being employed at the diffusion of activities of the university as to collaborate the classes of different teachers. MetaSpace gives me certain authority to be able to speak about video games in classes of history of the architecture or of graphical expression
and that do not take me as a madman!
Do you arrange or complement this activity with other labors or in other fields?
EP: Clear, because at the moment to live of this is very complicated. Both we keep active the rest of blogs in which we take part, beside continuing our professional ways. In my case this has been translated in the opening of a study orientated to topics of Architecture and Communication whereas Manuel is teacher and investigator in the Faculty of Architecture and Design of the University of Los Andes, in Bogota-
How do you see the future of the world “MetaSpace”? And that of the architecture and the video games?
MS: The future of MetaSpace happens necessarily for his growth, both in variety of content and in scope and financing. The certain thing is that the industry of the video game has come to a point in which the art design has a transcendental importance. Without a good direction of art a game remains in slightly insipidly and slightly attractivly, for very good graphical engine that has. If in addition his gameplay is not designed well, then it extinguishes and vámonos. This concerns directly the games with big productions or “AAA”, with examples like Assassin’s Creed, Uncharted or World of Warcraft, who invest enormous sums of money in his equipments of art design.
Of form parallel to these productions we have the games so called indie or independent, that on not having had big average or personal base his offers on the innovation on the gameplay and the visual design. In this respect we take offers as FEZ, Brütal Legend or Prison Architect, , games with a great architectural load that they shine for his simplicity and his capacity of dip.
In any case, the relation between video games and cinema is so narrow that every time there are more things of each one of these disciplines in other one. It is going to be very interesting to discover which is the paper that plays the architecture in this exchange.
Do you think that to study Architecture has been a fundamental passport to have come to your current work?
EP: Obviously. But we have to emphasize here that we do not say exclusively to the formation that we have received in our respective schools, but to all these complementary activities that we have been doing parallel: conferences, workshops, trips … and certainly to this great School of Architecture into which the social networks of a time have turned to this part (as long as have sufficient criterion at the moment of choosing whom you listen).
What do you think about the received formation? Nowadays what models or methods of formation do you use?
MS: As Enrique says the formation does not limit itself what gives us the university. For us the best method of formation is to live from one day to the next, to go out to the street, to the network and to take part of all the activities in that we are interested though it sometimes takes from us time of “what one supposes that we should be doing”. Personally I think that to do a blog is to construct our own posgrado, so in yes same already it constitutes a method of formation.
Apart from this always we are doing courses and activities, we like much the moment in which we are in that it turns out to be natural to be students and teachers at the same time. We would like to mention specially two courses that have influenced us specially: Idenditad Digital’s course given by Stepienybarno and the LABLAX’15 workshop with the University of The Andes (Bogota) and the SCI-Arc (The Angels).
Would you encourage other architects to follow your steps? What steps do you consider that they should give? How to complete his studies? What other advices would you give them?
EP: It does little he was writing in Foundation Arquia an article that was calling “They exceed the motives Us … to do a blog of architecture”, in him it was doing a small reflection on what he has supposed for my to take a students’ blog of architecture as Pedacicos Arquitectónicos together with Antonio Navarro and Juan Francisco Martínez (and more recently with Manuel Saga). I think that the better thing that it might say to the students is that they are conscious of what they want to learn. The study plans are very generic, but the academic period offers many alternatives to be formed in those areas in that more we are interested.
In our concrete case it has had very much I weigh the communicative part of the architecture, for others the social area or the economic one … I Think that it is fundamental to cultivate from a beginning a critical spirit with everything, specially with us themselves. The formation in this country is very general by how the profession is focused once they finish the studies, for what it depends to a great extent on the students to find his feature diferenciador.
Do you think that the architects in Spain we should continue opening new routes of work to go out of the “most “traditional” cabin of projecting given the current situation of the construction in our country?
MS: Totally, in fact I think that we are specimens of “diversification for need”. The precarious labor situation that we live in Spain closed the labor opportunities (remunerated) in big offices of architecture, or at least in in those that more we are interested. Nonetheless, if we were employed at a position of this type we would leave our projects in the network that they have made us be since we are nowadays. I of alive fact in Bogota, work like investigator in a university where my major contribution is in the habit of being based on the facility to find certain information in the network, to contact other investigators or to propose publishing projects. On the other hand Enrique drinks from his work in Pedacicos and up to the same PFC it has this flavor that so well they have could cook throughout the years.
Us it would like to be able to recover both in some moment as “traditional” architects, answer to an order, design spaces through that the people are going to live, but for it we propose a way very different from the one that they tried to teach us. We propose a product with an own, very personal character.
What do you think of those that they have been going to work abroad?
EP: So that is a shame that so many valid people have to go away out because here there is nothing for them. A thing yes that we have white of egg and it is that not even the conditions of pseudo slavery that many studies offer the “facilities” that the condition gives to begin new projects help to stop this hemorrhage that suffers the Spanish architecture.
The architecture, it has opened many fronts of battle (LSP, Bologna, unemployment, labor precariousness, Spades, ETSAs, emigration, communication, etc), will not they be too much for the existing polarization inside the same one?
MS: “The one that much includes little it is too tight”. Often we appear these battles as purely political or trade-union clashes, where our resources are the trade-union association, the communiqués and the manifestations. In my opinion we rely on another very important weapon that they are the good practices, that is to say, not only some ask For exemplary Spades but to be also just we in our own associations of small scale. To claim a labor worthy treatment at the time that we denounce and avoid the “grafts” in our professional routine.
As for the emigration it is a topic that I touch closely. In this sense the digital community has worked as an anchor that continues connecting me with Spain in spite of living to another side of the ocean. The same interview is a test of it. I think that the condition and the company are not the responsible only ones of the “brain drain” prevents, also we can put a bit of our part.
How do you see the future of the profession?
EP: So that probably quite will change to remain exactly like it was before. We have many doubts that a will of change exists really beyond “take from yourself your on that I put”. Though the model from “what removes” is different, the roles are exactly the same ones of always.
As for day after day, to the architecture of trench, probably if that produces a change to himself. In our opinion little by little it will go away towards two differentiated well ways: the model of collaboration between independent professionals or the model of consulting from architecture to the purest style of the big American signatures.
Enrique Parra – Manuel Saga · digital diffusion | MetaSpace
Interview realized by Ana Barreiro Blanco and Alberto Alonso Oro. To be grateful both for Manuel and for Enrique his time and predisposition with this space.