Interview: Eric A. Anderson

The Brief

 
 

Eric A. Anderson is a video game developer specialising in the adventure/puzzle genre. He has worked extensively with Cyan, Inc. on titles including the Myst series, Cosmic Osmo’s Hex Isle, and Bug Chucker. He played a central role in rebooting Cyan’s development efforts with their latest project, Obduction, for which he currently serves as Art Director. As part of a small team of artists, he was responsible for world-building The Witness, which was nominated for Best Independent Game at The Game Awards 2016.


Which book would you recommend to our readers?
The Diamond Age
by Neal Stephenson. A powerful examination of technology as evolution, and how education and social class are shaped by (and also shape) the tools we live with.

Which film would you recommend to our readers?
Blade Runner
, directed by Ridley Scott. A still-unsurpassed cinematic meditation on the nature of consciousness, humanity, personal agency, and inevitability.

Which comic book series would you recommend to our readers?
The Sandman by Neil Gaiman. Gaiman’s use of mythological stories as the raw materials of a new (and very modern) narrative was (and still is) revolutionary.

Which video game would you recommend to our readers?
Portal 2, developed by Valve Corporation. No other game has matched its perfect balance of rock-solid game mechanics, masterful writing, and well-executed visuals.

Are robots a threat to human artists?
No. Technology (in all forms) simply represents more tools for artists to leverage. At least until true AI becomes reality.
    
Do our memories of an artwork become part of the work itself?
For the audience, yes. Memories of experiencing a work become integral, and may even influence future interactions with the piece.

Does art create a bond with its audience?
Yes. I would argue that is often the central goal of a work – either through challenge or kinship. Nostalgia and trauma are both valuable.
 
Does art rely on interpretation?
Always. An artist's intention is worthless and insignificant compared to a viewer's interpretation of the same work. It becomes their own.
 
Is dreaming a form of creativity?
Yes. An artist's dreaming mind and its accidental creations are every bit as ‘creative’ as an intentional work of art maybe more so.

What is your greatest artistic discovery, and why?
Trying and failing is a form of success. Not fearing failure (and learning from failed attempts) is worth vastly more than never trying.

What question would you like to ask our other interviewees?
Is failure more valuable or less valuable than success?


More to discover

Eric A. Anderson: You can visit Eric A. Anderson's website here, and watch teaser trailers for Obduction and The Witness. He has been interviewed for 80 Level, and has written for The Witness's blog, which can be found here. His Twitter handle is @edoublea.

Today's recommendations: The Diamond Age (excerpt), Blade Runner (30th anniversary trailer), The Sandman (summary), Portal 2 (teaser trailer).


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