[-empyre-] I Can't Play And Speak At The Same Time

jonCates joncates at criticalartware.net
Wed Mar 12 06:06:16 EST 2008

On Mar 3, 2008, at 8:21 PM, David Surman wrote:
> I Can't Play And Speak At The Same Time

while simultaneously typing, button mashing + navigating sum twisty  
little passages i am excited that -empyre- is hosting this discussion  
this month + happy to reactivate my reply function given that i have  
been in a read only mode w/-empyre- for awhile now

> I am just achieving a stillness
> that furrows the brow of the cynic.

or a stillness that kills the game-locked bodies of the players:


articulating stark contrasts between health points + prosperity of  
the players physical + virtual selves, specifically inside MMOs that  
demand so much time + attention.

i am very interested in the lives of these hardcore gamers as the new  
(unreleased) documentary "second skin_" by Juan Carlos Pineiro- 
Escoriaza from 2008 seems to articulate:


also important to note is the age + demographics of those interviewed  
in this documentary as well as the possible parallels mappable to  
other forms of online identification + identity construction

> In many respects, the classic Atari Joystick, that grumpy,
> parsimonious plaything, which had to creak under teenage grip

+ flashesback smoothly in current hands:


> Like an old married couple haunting my attic, those Atari pads must be
> similarly perfected, compressed by one hundred compulsive
> interactions.

+ becomes a single (bachelor machine?) in current hands:


> can gameplay transcend
> the novelty of spectacular interaction long enough to sustain a
> discourse?

this is a critical question + 01 which is addressed Art Games such as:

"Tropical America" by OnRamp Arts (2002)


"spring_alpha" by Simon Yuill (2004 - present)

in my experience of them.

i teach w/these 2 Art Games b/c of their emphasis on discourses... i  
develop the curriculum of + teach classes on Art Games, Machinima,  
etc in the Film, Video & New Media (FVNM) @ The School of the Art  
Institute of Chicago (SAIC) where i have been creating the New Media  
path of study. 01 of these courses, that i am currently teaching w/my  
colleague Ben Chang is called "playFull, playMe". in this course  
students create digital artworks as playable games, considering the  
impact of Game Cultures on independent and experimental Media Art as  
well as Games as Art and Art as a Game. the current playFull, playMe  
courseware site is here:


+ for the academicly inclined or interested, the syllabus is here:


on the 1rst day of class we discussed how discourse is a central  
concern that can distinguish Art Games as Art + differentiate Art  
Games from the overshadowing presence of corporate/commercial gaming  
as expressed through the Game Industry as well as the closely  
interlocking worlds of Indy Games

we use:

"Videogames of the Oppressed" by Gonzalo Frasca (2001)

to suggest discourse as an active engagement in re[wryting/wiring]  
rules of play as real world situations/simulations

> For my part in this playtime potlatch, I see much of the
> project of Serious Games as a misapprehension failing to capitalise on
> the discursive power of aesthetics in play.

could you articulate what you mean by the "discursive power of  
aesthetics" further?

// jonCates
# Assistant Professor - Film, Video & New Media
# The School of the Art Institute of Chicago
# http://saic.edu/~jcates
# Art as Game, Game as Art
# http://artgames.ning.com

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