[-empyre-] Welcome to the March Discussion on -empyre-:"Videogames and Art: Incite/Insight"

Erin Obodiac emo57 at cornell.edu
Sun Mar 3 08:18:18 EST 2013

Hello all,

If you haven't already seen human pac-man:


From: empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au [empyre-bounces at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au] on behalf of Renate Ferro [rtf9 at cornell.edu]
Sent: Saturday, March 02, 2013 10:31 AM
To: soft_skinned_space
Subject: [-empyre-] Welcome to the March Discussion on -empyre-:"Videogames     and Art: Incite/Insight"

----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
Welcome to the March discussion on  –empyre- soft-skinned space:

"Videogames and Art: Incite/Insight" Moderated by Claudia Pederson
(Portugal/Netherlands/US) and Renate Ferro (US) with invited
discussants Paolo Pedercini (IT, US), Joeeph Delappe (US), Soraya
Murray (US), John Sharpe (US), Ken Eklund (US), George Karalis (US),,
Anne Marie Schleiner (S),
 "Why Games?" asked one of the catalogue essays by a curator of the
"Game Show" at Mass MoCA in 2001.  Just a little over a decade later
and this question rings quaint.  Today videogames are seen as
culturally significant media. But Art is mostly invoked as a
legitimization of the medium. Thus the Smithsonean praises the
expressive potential of videogames in its past show, "The Art of
Videogames," and videogames are filed under the arts section of the
New York Times. This desire for legitimization speaks to still
lingering beliefs that videogames are chiefly a subcultural form.

In a recent press conference after the Newtown shootings (and
subsequent calls for gun control), the NRA president Wayne LaPierre
deflected scrutiny by shifting blame to violent videogames, calling
the videogame industry "a shadow organization."  However, the fact
that these assertions were mostly met with general skepticism may be
taken as sign of a shift in the public's perception of videogames. At
this point of their cultural trajectory videogames look to be becoming
just another form of entertainment (think of the booming of social

Beyond attempts at elevating the output of the industry in face of the
slippery slope of moral anxieties, what is the relationship of
videogames and Art? For the rise of videogames as forms of
entertainment and as an artistic medium is closely related, even
intermingled, yet also distinct. For instance, the relationship
between art and games is longstanding, even if poorly understood in
Art History. Contemporary games by artists can be analyzed both in
relation to art and new forms of social activism, incidentally
facilitated by the rise and expansion of computer networks .
Conversely, videogame designers familiar with particular aspects of
art and politics are producing games in line with these legacies.
Videogames are part of histories of the computer and activism, which
are also connected with the development of the digital arts. In sum, a
fierce anti-commodity and non-violence current lays buried under the
glitz and hubris of the videogame industry.  As the history of art
expands to include diverse fields of media arts, the recognition of
these practices is not only overdue but also urgent to the development
of both art history and social understandings of media. In this
interest, the above observations are meant as threads to stimulate
discussion on this month's topic: alternative, diverse forms of gaming
aimed at (cultural) change.

Week 1 March 1st: Claudia Pederson (PT, NL), Paolo Pedercini (IT, US)kkkk,

Week 2 March 8th: Joeeph Delappe (US), Soraya Murray (US)

Week 3 March 15th: John Sharpe (US), Ken Eklund (US)

Week 4: March 22nd: George Karalis (US),, Anne Marie Schleiner (S)

Renate Ferro is a conceptual artist working in emerging technology and
culture. Most recently her work has been featured at The Freud Museum
(London), The Dorksy Gallery (NY), The Hemispheric Institute and FOMMA
(Mexico), The Janus Pannonius Muzeum (Hungary), and The Free
University Berlin (Germany).  Her work has been published in such
journals as Diacritics, Theatre Journal, and Epoch. She is a
co-moderator for the online new media list serve -EMPYRE-soft-skinned
space. Ferro is a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of
Art at Cornell University teaching digital media and theory. She also
directs the Tinker Factory, a creative research lab for Research
Design, Creativity, and Interdisciplinary Research.

Claudia Costa Pederson received her Ph.D from the Art History and
Visual Studies Department at Cornell with a dissertation entitled
“Gaming the System.” Her research combines interests in the history
and theory of art and social activism, with a focus on the digital
arts in the United States and Europe, and beyond, as currently
emerging, in cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural perspectives. Her
current projects include, a second edition of her most recent
publication, a short book entitled Declaration of Sentiments/Gün
(2011) written with a group of Turkish women working in cultural
fields, from electronic media, to politics, music, literature, and the
visual arts; and an essay on Latin American artists working in media
arts, which are extensions of social struggles around environmental
issues. Her work in various forms can be found online.

Paolo Pedercini is an Italian game developer, artist and educator. He
teaches digital media production and experimental game design at the
School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University. He usually works under
the project name Molleindustria, hopping between digital art,
academia, game design, media activism and internet folk art.

Molleindustria [soft industry/soft factory] is a project of
reappropriation of video games, a call for the radicalization of
popular culture, an independent game developer. Since 2003 we produced
homeopathic remedies to the idiocy of mainstream entertainment in the
form of free, short-form, online games. Our products range from
satirical business simulations (McDonald's Video game, Oiligarchy,
Phone Story) to meditations on labor and alienation (Every day the
same dream, Tuboflex, Unmanned), from playable theories (the Free
Culture Game, Leaky World) to politically incorrect pseudo-games
(Orgasm Simulator, Faith Fighter).

Jpseph Delappe
Joseph DeLappe is a Professor of the Department of Art at the
University of Nevada where he directs the Digital Media program.
Working with electronic and new media since 1983, his work in online
gaming performance and electromechanical installation have been shown
throughout the United States and abroad - including exhibitions and
performances in Australia, the United Kingdom, China, Germany, Spain,
Belgium, the Netherlands and Canada. In 2006 he began a project
dead-in-iraq , to type consecutively, all names of America's military
casualties from the war in Iraq into the America's Army first person
shooter online recruiting game. He also directs the iraqimemorial.org
project, an ongoing web based exhibition and open call for proposed
memorials to the many thousand of civilian casualties from the war in
Iraq. He has lectured throughout the world regarding his work,
including most recently at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
He has been interviewed on CNN, NPR, CBC, the Australian Broadcasting
Corporation and on The Rachel Maddow Show on Air America Radio. His
works have been featured in The New York Times, The Australian Morning
Herald, Artweek, Art in America and in the 2010 book from Routledge
entitled Joystick Soldiers The Politics of Play in Military Video

Soraya Murray
Soraya Murray holds a Ph.D. in art history from Cornell University. An
Assistant Professor in Film and Digital Media at the University of
California, Santa Cruz, she is also faculty in the Digital Arts and
New Media MFA Program. Murray is an interdisciplinary scholar who
focuses on contemporary visual culture, with particular interest in
new media, cultural studies and globalization in the arts.  Her
writings have been published in Art Journal, Nka: Journal of
Contemporary African Art, Public Art Review, Third Text  and PAJ: A
Journal of Performance and Art. Murray inaugurated a course on UCSC's
campus entitled "Video Games as Visual Culture" which promotes the
study of games for their cultural meanings, visual analysis, as well
as social and theoretical contexts.
Ken Eklund
Designer of a new breed of collaborative and socially relevant games,
Ken Eklund is a leader in the emerging genre of serious alternate
reality games (ARGs). Ken launches massively participatory narratives
that focus on contemporary issues and ask “what if...?” In these games
people immerse themselves in exploring the future and have fun
collaborating democratically on positive solutions and action. Ken is
known for creating the award-winning WORLD WITHOUT OIL, the
groundbreaking collective imagining of our next oil shock, and GISKIN
ANOMALY, the cellphone adventure for the museums in Balboa Park, San
Diego. He also created ZOROP, which explored world peace by connecting
strangers, with Annette Mees of Coney, and was Community Lead for
EVOKE, the innovative social entrepreneurship initiative that won a
Direct Impact Award in 2011 from Games For Change. Most recently, he's
worked with Sara Thacher to create HISS POP, a narrative adventure on
vinyl for The Exploratorium, and launched ED ZED OMEGA to explore
education reform, in partnership with TPT (Twin Cities Public
Television). He has designed games professionally for over 20 years.
“To shape the future, play with it first!” he says.

John Sharp is the Associate Professor of Games and Learning in the School of
Art, Media and Technology at Parsons The New School for Design where he is
co-director of PETLab (Prototyping, Education and Technology Lab). John is a
game designer, graphic designer, art historian and educator. His research is
focused on game design curriculum, videogame aesthetics, the history of
play, and the early history of computer and video games. John is a member of
the game design collective Local No. 12, which creates games from and for
cultural contexts and conventions. He is also a partner in Supercosm LLC, a
consultancy for non-profits and organizations in the arts, education and
entertainment fields.

Anne-Marie Schleiner is engaged in gaming and net culture in a variety
of roles as a cultural critic, curator, anti-war activist, and gaming
artist/designer. She has taught at universities and artist workshops
and participated in art residencies in Germany, Belgium, Spain and
Mexico. She has exhibited in international galleries, museums and
festivals, more recently the Body in Women’s Art Now at London’s Rollo
Art and the New Hall Art Collection, University of Cambridge. She
teaches game design in the Communication and New Media Program at the
National University of Singapore in South East Asia and holds a
doctorate in Cultural Analysis from the University of Amsterdam.

George Karalis is finishing his degree from Cornell University in the
College Scholar Program for interdisciplinary studies. As a College
Scholar his honor’s research has woven the areas of new media and film
theory, software development and game design.  In this research he
explores 3D sound environments in digital games.  In addition to his
written thesis, he is developing a digital game in order to put his
research concepts into practice. Currently code named "Square Waves,"
the two-player cooperative game requires one player to face away from
the screen and navigate the virtual 3D environment by only listening
through headphones.

***George coded our new –empyre soft-skinned web interface that was
launched in February 2013.  He has been working for a year on this
interface.  As he moves to the commercial side of computing and
software design after graduation we do hope he stays in touch.


Renate Ferro
Visiting Assistant Professor of Art
Cornell University
Department of Art, Tjaden Hall Office #420
Ithaca, NY  14853
Email:   <rtf9 at cornell.edu>
URL:  http://www.renateferro.net
Lab:  http://www.tinkerfactory.net

Managing Co-moderator of -empyre- soft skinned space
empyre forum
empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au

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