House of Heavens – The Artwork

Introduction

This will be a quick insight into the sculpture I chose to base my game design on for my second project for the trimester. Here we will look at the sculpture itself, the artist and breakdown the meaning, why I chose it to create a short experience about it and how I intend to implement it.

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“House of Heavens” By N.N Rimzon, 1995

The Sculpture

We can see at first glance 2 main objects right there staring us in the face, an egg and a house-shaped object. N.N Rimzon also adds in a 3rd object though. Do you see that? Under the house? There is a concealed sword under there. Also keep an eye on how the objects are positioned, I’ll be returning to that in a moment.

The Artist

N.N Rimzon is an Indian-born artist born in 1957. He is well known as an artist for his symbolic and enigmatic sculptures, but more recently for his drawings. He is largely influenced by the rural Indian landscape and uses basic images and symbols to represent a larger meaning in his work. He actually uses the symbolism of the house, egg and sword repeatedly throughout some of his other artwork in his career, leading to an ultimate meaning for each motif.

The Meaning and Implementation

I’ll start this section with a short excerpt from the artist about the sculpture and break it down as what I interpret that to mean:

The sculpture, ‘House of Heavens’ for example, immediately conjures the notion of fertility and life, forming a structure which has ramifications of the sacred space as a shelter. The partially concealed sword underneath with its association of violence however denies the possibility of solace, of refuge, of utopia.

After reading this, my design brain kicked in and started imagining the game opportunities here… the egg representing fertility and life seemed pretty self explanatory here and I decided that using the egg motif in my game was the best way to make the link to the other motifs of the house and the sword (which I wouldn’t actually be using the motif’s as game objects in the actual game). Instead, for the sacred space/shelter, I thought this could represent a home of any sort and whats usually the home for an egg? A nest of course. This lead me to design decision to make the experience about returning home to your nest but we have to include the representation of the sword that “denies the possibility of solace, of refuge, of utopia”. This is the games twist, where, once finding your nest again, you can see that from the area, it’s no longer safe to return.

Back-tracking to the part about the way they are positioned, I derived a meaning out of the way the egg is leaning on the house to be the fact that the egg depends upon the existence of the home/shelter in order to stay safe. This is something I really wanted to help re-iterate in the game by having literally nowhere else to return to to stay safe.

Combining this meaning with the artists inspiration of rural India, my games design in summary is all about the farming of a piece of land that causes a birds nest to fall and no longer being a safe place to hatch anymore, especially in the heat of the Indian sun.

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