[-empyre-] PLAY Tl ö nic

Sean Cubitt scubitt at unimelb.edu.au
Thu Mar 13 16:46:39 EST 2008

Another Tlönic thought

Orbis tertius translates as Third World - and I often think of Borges' story
in this light (a long forgotten essay in third text) - which also raises the
question of a media art geography

Eastern Europe as raised by great posts. But also Tom Apperley's
ethnographic research on Venezuelan internet café gamers here at UniMelb and
no doubt others Game culture, I suppose: lest we fetishise the production
industry or the author (including the mod author) so much we re-westernise,
a constant temptation in media histories generally.  That said, the wafaa
Bilal tale should also point to the absurdities of a geopolitics that now
has a third world in the midst of every first


On 13/3/08 4:21 PM, "Christian McCrea" <saccharinmetric at gmail.com> wrote:

> I just want to play with some ideas from this post by Margarete
> Jahrmann before other threads become too long to weave back.. some fun
> to be had here:
>>  Frasca further discussed the borders of games (sorry, Huizinga was not
>>  published 58 ;)... but it is widely ignored, that Huizinga did introduce
>>  the magic circle differently in the 30ties. Why we shall accept that the
>>  political circumstances of the time when this reflection on play and
>>  culture were without any affection on the theory developed? Is the
>>  systematics expressing far more a cultural mirror of societies changing
>>  towards totalitarian systems? Is the actual rush towards real gaming
>>  mirroring a frustration in real life?
> This is really telling; from my understanding of Huizinga, there was
> an almost urgent pressing towards play not as a model for something
> else but the something else itself.
>>  For me the alternate reality game is the interesting
>>  question - what if the game dissolves the borders.
> Well I think thats why (if you'll excuse me saying so) that the work
> of the Ludic
> Society in its different forms has been so light-bringing (or
> foghorn-sounding) and challenging to the orthodoxy of games
> thinking/knowledge/theory/etc, which I would propose has been
> occuring; play first, play first, play first - its not a trick that is
> easily turned into a method, or a new rule, which is what people are
> used to in a way.
>> What happens if the
>>  situation of play is similar to the imaginary land introduces by Jorge
>>  Luis Borges under the triple name "Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius", when the
>>  OBJECTS of fictional worlds break into the realm of a paradox "reality".
> Well several of the usual art suspects come to mind, but in reading
> Borges there is always that respect for craft so I am keen to bring up
> one of the persona geek gratis of games culture - the productive
> crafts. I'm referring to the vast network of productive game geek
> stores and shop-sellers; earrings, belts, handbags, clothes, hats,
> t-shirts, teapots - game themed handcrafts cannot be seen as a
> byproduct, or the realm of the capitalist, or literally unthinkable. I
> have had to argue for their 'researchability' before which is
> ludicrious. Of course they are the byproducts of a tension; the
> machines are digital but our relationships seems unfinished. Pac-man
> is free from his maze, come to be printed on my t-shirt. It can't be
> corporate-made (like the grotesque Street Fighter 2 shirts being sold
> at Levi's stores ATM - mixing up the artwork from SF2 Turbo and Super
> SF2 Turbo - unforgivable!) It has to be hand-made, within the
> community, even if it not communal or subcultural.
> The culture of ingenuity, of the productive injoke, visible in places
> like the Boing-Boing associated Make magazine, in the dozens and
> dozens of podcasts, illustrative art websites, all percolates really
> into the game art scene in a very very visible way. So yes lets take
> account of the history of media art first, but while we have out the
> microscope, lets look at the history of fun with skills! There is
> something intrinsically nostalgic or historical about how games uses
> the weave of the loom (looms and screens being long linked, of
> course).
> Sometimes this feels like a big secret to discuss... but Micheal
> Dieter's link to the hidden world of game characters stirred this
> thought.
>>  addendum:. Beside the methodological approach towards the "Magic circle"
>>  of play - Huizinga mentioned this images of games in a different way
>>  than it is often used in contemporary game studies. He was not so much
>>  interested in the distinction to Reality, but in the activity, often the
>>  mythic activity, which this circle allows.
>>  Sure, if one critiques actual game studies in this concern, a
>>  juxtaposition must be suggested.
> Game studies has been brutally careless about its approach to many
> things (and I indict myself in sometimes following rote formula to
> appease a sense of struggle that the field wants to thrive on) but
> above all, the magic circle might be the most strangely overwritten
> but undertheorised concept. (a conference next month in Finland on the
> topic could make some interesting papers -
> http://breakingmagiccircle.wordpress.com/)
> Thanks for provoking some long-lost thoughts,
> -Christian McCrea
> _______________________________________________
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Prof Sean Cubitt
scubitt at unimelb.edu.au
Director, Media and Communications Program
Faculty of Arts
Room 127 John Medley East
The University of Melbourne
Parkville VIC 3010

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Skype: seancubitt

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