Benjamin Nuel

HOTEL, episode 1. 2009
produced by LARDUX Films

No, it is not a video game, nor an animation but it is the first episode of HOTEL, a project by Machinima artist BENJAMIN NUEL who uses videogames as an artistic medium. Born in 1981, graduated of the School of Fine Art of Strasbourg and of the Fresnoy, he has developed her artistic work in the field of video and film. Her recent project, HOTEL, is clearly inspired by the mechanics and aesthetics of the video game war but the main purpose is to tell a story. The result is brilliant, fascinating and hilarious:

Hotel is a three-part project. The first is a kind of videogame. Indeed, terrorists and counter terrorists are isolated in a luxury hotel in the countryside. But no battles are being fought. It’s like a time-out in basketball… Neither violence nor action are taking place. It’s how I recreated, re-interpreted the “dead” moments of Silent Hill… The idea came from waiting times in Counter-Strike’s games. Once dead, the player can be in a very free browse mode in the level where he was just fighting. It controls a camera that goes very fast in all directions. It passes through the walls to literally leave the world and see it from afar, surrounded by a black nothingness, called the void. This can be done in “Hotel”. This gives an ambiguous place to the player who also has the opportunity to assist the daily routine of occupants.

This work is based on springs in the order of the fascination, curiosity and frustration. Inspired by the mechanics of video game war, he proposed a world anti-dramatic. It is finally an object film where the choice of temporality and the strolling to its importance. However, the player must begin the experiment with this question in mind: what is the purpose? And if there is no progress or development of the universe during the experiment (this is a stopped time, in loop) there is a evolution during geographical shift in aware that the player has of his place. It is a story about cohabitation on several levels. The players are located at the points where antagonistic forms clash in an unstable universe. The second part is a feuilleton in ten episodes that takes the opposite course of the video game. We are no more in a stopped time and even if the emptiness of the existence of these characters is still here, they are placed in front of the progressive collapse of their world. – BENJAMIN NUEL for Gamescenes

His works have been distributed and exhibited in events like the Locarno Film Festival, the New cinema festival of Montreal and the Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin/Madrid. As far as I know, episode 2 and 3 have been produced and more episodes are planned. Stay tuned!

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