Cherish Marquez, an MFA alumni of the Emergent Digital Practices (EDP) program at the University of Denver, uses the 3D worlds of gaming to immerse her viewers in cultural, historical, and political journeys of exploration.
Her 2019 game, Slot of the Odds, was recently featured at the Redline Contemporary Art Center, where she is currently an artist in residence. Marquez explained the timeliness of this work, saying, “I made this game in response to the current issues surrounding border politics today. I am from a border town and have been immersed in these issues for most of my life.”
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In the game, players crossing a desert landscape are confronted by a slot machine for survival supplies and an unscalable wall where they play the odds for their survival. Along the journey, players activate and interact with symbols and religious artifacts that represent the risks encountered during border crossings.
“I work in this (medium) because it allows me to create worlds that alter one’s sense of reality by combining the physical and digital world in order to take the viewer on a journey of exploration. Lately when I approach my work, I think about how I can incorporate ancient rituals with technology, and how I can push the ‘magic’ within these spaces in order to give them a voice within our digital world.
“The EDP program has given me the opportunity to push my limits as an artist, a creator, and an inventor. I studied 3D modeling, game development, animation, AR/VR development, creative coding, wearable technology, Arduino sensors, music development, and theory,” said Marquez. “It is through the EDP faculty that I have learned technical skills, theory, and interdisciplinary practices in science and technology.”