Home JG OriginalsEnglish Articles The Greek creator of the “8bit Stories” page on Joystick: “The hyper-real elements give another perspective to our reality and how different it could’ve been”.

The Greek creator of the “8bit Stories” page on Joystick: “The hyper-real elements give another perspective to our reality and how different it could’ve been”.

Γράφει ο/η Στέλιος Αναγνωστόπουλος

A chronicler who recites events without distinguishing between major and minor ones acts in accordance with the following truth: nothing that has ever happened should be regarded as lost for history. To be sure, only a redeemed mankind receives the fullness of its past-which is to say, only for a redeemed mankind has its past become citable in all its moments. Each moment it has lived becomes a citation a l’ordre du jour — and that day is Judgment Day.

Walter Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History, thesis III

I have been following the “8bit Stories” page for several years. Through the art of pixels, sometimes I am nostalgic and sometimes I desire. I believe that desire has absolutely a dialectical dynamic so that it is not determined by each past but instead transcends it when the circumstances are appropriate. I think that only Walter Benjamin can summarise some of my thoughts on the content of the following debate, and that is why I am quoting it as a preamble. I warmly thank the Greek creator and artist behind “8bit stories” for granting the interview.

So, the pixel art is amazing in combination with the script but I don’t think you needed to hear that from me! How did you get that concept?

Thank you for your kind words. I started this back in 2014 and Tumblr really got me hooked with all those old movie snapshots that featured poignant quotes about longing in a suburban, mundane town. Tumblr was the main catalyst that lit the fuse and to be honest I really liked it there. It was super cool meeting people with similar interests and views and it felt like home. So at first, it was me frantically snapping images of really old games and then slapping some flash fiction stuff and that was it. I didn’t expect it would take off and I kind of changed how I write and stylize my art nowadays. But that was the idea at first, the power of words through splice of life imagery.

Do you think personal expression via artistic themes like yours can tell people to move on in their lives?

No, someone who has moved on with their lives certainly doesn’t lurk in platforms like mine. At least some of them maybe like the aesthetic of it all, I guess? The people in my artworks live in a mundane world soaked in banality. People sometimes criticize me a lot for always drawing sunsets and the same themes but there is a history behind this. There was a time where I wrote a little story about people living on a tidally locked planet always living on the sunset side of it. The rest of this world is uncharted, cold and frightful. This blends with their everyday lives; they are living their lives but living an eternal sunset takes a toll on them and makes them long for the world they can’t explore yet. And I have a dozen of those artworks that I use and edit for the sake of posting.

The main subjects about your art is loneliness and mostly nostalgia. In my opinion, It’s not a «good old days» nostalgia, which is dangerous for many reasons, but a motivational nostalgia. I believe that many of your followers, like me, understood it like that.

The main focus is the modern human in a rapidly growing world that doesn’t care if you are sad or afraid or broken down. It’s similar to how the Universe works and does its own thing totally disregarding the human factor but our world does it in a sheerer, rawer, corporate way. You either become one with the changes or you are just left behind. You can see it on the news nowadays. It’s people fighting for who’s right and who’s wrong, the old going against the new and so on; bread and circus I’d say. And there are people with an itch that’s gnawing at them. I make art for those people, that’s the gist of it.

Are you playing video games? If so, what do you believe about the connection between them and art?

Hell yeah I do and quite a lot. Games should be the 8th form of art. I guess it’s because they include elements from others like cinema and music that they don’t add it to the traditional subdivision.

What’s your motivation creating these stories? I understand that there is a personal narrative in most of them.

The ephemera fascinate me a lot. It is wisps of ideas about the past and a transient life and about people forgotten in history; this gives a great urge to draw. There were people in the past that experienced this world and now no one remembers them, it’s so weird but I think about it and it makes me sad sometimes but gives me inspiration nonetheless. These images evoke this desirous idea; an outdated version of our world, one that never really existed. I like the small wooden cabin in a vast meadow where two people run to the sunshine with their unmonitored reveries. It’s like old movies but in pixel art format.

Digital artworks; do you think that bits have more potential in order to explain or describe the inner and outside world?

Art does what it does best. It’s an extent of us and a tool to explore ourselves in the world. It doesn’t matter if it is digital or not. Humans drew paintings in caves 65000 years ago and because of that we have tremendous clues about them. Art connects us altogether in a weird way; it doesn’t care about distance, age and physics.

Our generation seems to be more accustomed with this kind of art. Video games, just like comics a few years ago, are recognised as a pop culture phenomenon, a way of expression if I may add. The same thing goes with your art. Many of our daily tasks, worries, emotions, activities can be described through your art. Is it difficult to be laconic and at the same time inclusive?

The art of pixels itself is laconic because it is a restrictive art form. It’s like cross-stitch and mosaics but in the digital format. And it’s beautiful because it’s placing dots with artistic intent and not like rendering an image to low resolution, no debate about that. For me, less is more so this form of art really hits home, it leaves a lot to the fantasy. This dynamic of low-resolution art and lack of words works wonders.

Do you think that, as Jane McGonigal argues, reality is broken? It seems that we can’t find pleasure from living our lives and we enrich the real world with game-like aspects (gamification). Can game art change somethings in our world?

This sounds interesting to read so thank you for the suggestion. I personally think that reality is what we experience, which is limited and just outright flat. And I’d say that even if I lived in an era without media; I could be a pastoralist in the Bronze Age and I’d tell you the same. This goes back into the old ages where humans started playing instruments and drawing on cave walls for fun and what not. They were fucking bored. Nowadays we play games, listen to music, read fictional stories and watch fantasy movies. It’s a great way to cope so miss Jane is right in a way.

I personally play games because I get to experience something different. There were games in the past that fascinated me. I loved the first Mass Effect and No Man’s Sky. Travelling to alien planets watching their moons; I was in awe. Same happened with a lot of movies and anime; they just sucked me into their worlds. The hyper-real elements give another perspective to our reality and how different it could’ve been.

It’s interesting because this fascination with the media is a key factor as to how I create my art. I draw vistas and worlds with the element of hyper-reality in my mind. I think about all the vivid imagery in let’s say, Studio Ghibli films and I feel an immense nostalgia kicking in. I fantasize of a world like that with colourful sunsets, people living an ordinary carefree life where creatures lurk in the woods waiting to be discovered by the chosen one.

Thank you so much!

I thank you for the chance you gave me, to talk about me for a bit. Have a nice day!

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