[-empyre-] The playful frisson of d&d

melinda R melindr at gmail.com
Sun Mar 2 00:54:37 EST 2008

One of our guests described the potentiality of this months discussion
as a euphoric free-for-all over vastly varied terrain. She was right –
we are providing a common ground for the multifarious, interconnected
and intersecting narratives that are occurring between curators,
artists, programmers, theorists, writers, museums, players and
watchers alike.  Games are, as we know, the predominant artform of the
21st century, inexhaustible juggernauts drawing critical mass to their
post–cinematic sovereignty.

Right now Game history is centralising and solidifying from it's
former malleable position of marginalism - archives are filling up,
meta data is amassed, manifestos are written, authors proclaim
authority, order and hierarchy are imposed. Museums like ACMI in
Melbourne, Australia commission and show new game work, and examine
local gaming history with shows like Game On and Hits of the 80s. The
expansive LABoral in Gjion, Spain is demonstrating a major commitment
to game culture - opening with  Gameworld  and now Homo Ludens Ludens,
in which many of our guests are involved.

At -empyre- we like to ask questions.. some are obvious and some
obviously overlooked. Both have equal validity. Lets start with a few
-  Are we as humans hardwired to anticipate the frission of the game?
Is the shudder and thrill about skill or something more? Is play
reversible? material? meaningful? Our first players Daphne Dragona and
David Surman will open up the dialogue from their differing and
complimentary perspectives. Please welcome D and D.

Game Off has been planned in dialogue with Christian McCrea who will
join us both as a guest and as co-moderator. As is often the case with
–empyre-, an edited publication will also eventuate from this months
dialogue, so please be good spellers.

---> Christian McCrea is a writer and theorist from Melbourne,
Australia. His work peers over the fences of art and game culture;
looking to complicate some of game culture's long-standing questions
within the longer narratives of art practice and history.
He has written articles and pieces for Fibreculture, Metro, Realtime,
Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Senses of Cinema and
elsewhere. Some of his most recent articles and papers include:
"Then,Suddenly, I Was Moved: The Haptic Nostalgia of Videogames",
"Dismembers of the Audience: Affective Violence and Theatricalised
Catharsis", "We Are Not A Meme; Subversion and the Gaming
Imagination", He has spoken at a number of conferences and events such
as This Is Not Art, Freeplay, Media In Transition, Interactive
Entertainment and others.
His work describes the non-virtual aspects of games under the rubric
of materialism, namely nostalgia, euphoria, the proscenium of gaming
actions and explosive body aesthetics. He works as Lecturer in Games
and Interactivity at Swinburne University of Technology, helping to
develop a postgraduate and research program in Game Arts.
He occasionally blogs at: http://www.wolvesevolve.com

---> Daphne Dragona is an independent new media arts curator and
organiser, based in Athens. Her recent activities include the
exhibition of Gameworld, in Laboral Centro de Arte y Industrial, Gjion
Spain, where she was the Associate Curator and the Gameworld
LABworkshops where she was the Curatorial Supervisor. From 2001 –
2006, she was the General Coordinator of Fournos Center for Digital
Culture and the Programme Curator & Coordinator of Medi at terra
International Art and Technology Festival, both of them based in
Athens. She is a member of the Personal Cinema, International New
Media Collective, acting as a spokesperson and a curatorial advisor
for the group. Since 2005, she is also the contributor for the New
Media section of VELVET magazine, that circulates monthly in Athens.
Daphne  is currently is a co – curator of  Homo Ludens Ludens, an
exhibition opening at Laboral in April 08 accompanied by a conference
examining play as a principal element of today' s world, and
highlighting its necessity for our contemporary societies.

---> David Surman is Senior Lecturer in Computer Games Design at the
Newport School of Art, Media and Design, Wales. He is author of The
Videogames Handbook (Routledge, 2008) and co-editor of Animated Worlds
(2007), and has been writing since 2001 on videogames culture,
contemporary art and technology. His research interests centre on
digital aesthetics, contemporary japanese visual media, videogames,
queer online culture and animation. As a freelance illustrator and
animator his work has been exhibited internationally as part of the
European Live Arts Network, the National Theatre, NoFitState and
Pictoplasma. As a consultant on brand and concept development his
previous and current clients include Sony, Majestico, Igloo, and
Capcom. He is currently working on a new series of essays discussing
Japanese contemporary painting.
w: http://artschool.newport.ac.uk/sp_dsurman.html
h: http://davidsurman.blogspot.com
j: http://www.gaygamer.net

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