Isea 2022 - Possibles



June 13 to 15

Demo / Totem teller as digital archaeology

Authors: Alexander Swords, Benjamin Kerslake, Jerry Verhoeven


Totem Teller is a digital game that provides the player with an exploration of folk tales. The experience is a type of digital archaeology relying on surrealism and transcendental style using poetry and glitch aesthetics.


Theme: digital, narrative, archaeology, transcendental, poetry

Venue: CCCB

More information:

  • Abstract: Totem Teller is a digital game exploring folk tales categorised ATU 327: The Children and the Ogre, and ATU 450: Brother and Sister and their variants. It demonstrates a digital archaeological process using poetry, glitch aesthetics, processed art and gameplay including exploration, discovery, dialogue, removal of digital grime and experimental composition. The player will act as archaeologist in uncovering elements, contemplating their meaning, and then in understanding the meaning they’ve created, understand the role of inspiration, stories and more about themselves.

  • Biography: Alexander Swords has 20 years experience working with stories, creators and their audiences. He’s currently wielding this experience as a writer and narrative designer on Totem Teller and Anytown: Garage Sale Monsters, and is the creator of the Forest Paths Method for Narrative Design. The Method is a structuralist approach to understanding story in an approachable and collaborative way, and is being used internationally by developers, researchers and educators in games and screenwriting. 
    Prior to this he’s worked for independent game developers in Berlin, AAA in Sweden and has worked as an independent artist, arts manager and audience development expert. Advising government, arts organisations and educators, he’s an advocate for diverse stories and their writers, understanding the transformational power of story and helping creators explore the narrative potential of any medium.
    He holds a Master of Arts (Arts Management) from RMIT, Bachelor of Film and Television Production from Griffith University, Bachelor of Business from Queensland University of Technology and an Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media from Open Channel.

    Benjamin Kerslake is a creative director, independent game maker and transmedia artist. He has over 15 years of professional practice encompassing art direction, illustration, animation, software development, user experience and project management. He has led both large and small creative teams, and currently runs his own micro-studio.

    Jerry Verhoeven spent his youth around video games and online. Playing and exploring in the digital realm as it unfolded. This resulted in pursuing a formal education in video game creation. Specifically as a Technical Artist – a cross-domain discipline within the video game industry. Here he was able to develop his skills both as an artist, designer and programmer.
    This led to an internship in Shanghai, where he worked on multiple video game projects and later moved to a large outsourcing company to pursue more large video game co-productions.
    Jerry currently pursues his passion for video game creation and creative synergy while working through a variety of collaborations with other developers. He has also created various small games, engaged in freelance work, been a guest-lecturer at universities, explored poetry and abstract digital art creation and has released his own multi-platform puzzle game: Kavel.


  • CCCB

Montalegre, 5 - 08001 Barcelona

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