[-empyre-] The Playsthetics of Experimental Digital Games: Week 2 guests, thanks to Week 1 guests

Sandra Danilovic s.danilovic at mail.utoronto.ca
Mon Mar 10 12:18:36 EST 2014

Greetings All,

We are heading into Week 2 of this month’s discussion of the “Playsthetics of Experimental Digital Games”.

I would like to thank last week’s featured guests, Bart Simon, skot deeming (mrghosty) and Felan Parker for their nuanced and dynamic posts, which compelled us to think about games rhizomatically in relation to creative and scientific experimentation, art, materiality, discourse, and other evolving tensions...

This upcoming week (March 10-16), we will unravel some new threads and hope to make some new connections, knots, loose ends!

I will post the questions for the subtopics tomorrow, so stay tuned.

It is my pleasure to introduce Lynn Hughes, Sebastian Deterding and Matt Wells, who will address the following: embodied gaming in contemporary art, post-digital and new media contexts (Lynn), gamification and ludification in relation to games experimentation (Sebastian) and retro games aesthetics (Matt).

Lynn Hughes (CA) is a digital media researcher, artist and teacher who holds the Chair of Interaction Design and Games Innovation at Concordia University in Montreal. She was instrumental in the founding and financing of Hexagram, the Montreal based Institute for Media Art and Technology and the largest new media hub in Canada. More recently she co-founded (with Bart Simon) the Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG) Research Centre -a radically interdisciplinary centre that fosters game research and design. Lynn’s own design interests currently focus on the space between games, interactive art and community activism and on the design of full body, sensor based games. Propinquity, her current production with Bart Simon and the Modern Nomads, was featured on the opening night of the Joue le jeu / Play Along (Gaîté lyrique, Paris) at the Boston Festival of Independent Games, the Brussels Electronic Arts Festival, and Indiecade (Los Angeles).

Sebastian Deterding (DE) is a researcher and designer working on gameful and playful experiences. He is currently a visiting assistant professor at the RIT Laboratory for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction and Creativity (MAGIC) at the Rochester Institute of Technology. He is organizer of the Gamification Research Network, and co-editor of "The Gameful World", a book exporing the societal ramification of the ludification of culture, to appear with MIT Press in 2014. As independent game and user experience designer and associate with the international design studio Hubbub, he has been building applications touching millions of people for the BBC, BMW, Deutsche Telekom, Greenpeace, the German Federal Agency for Civic Education. He lives online at

Matt Wells (CA) is a PhD Student at the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto.  The focus of his research is on the history of technology from a gaming perspective.  Matt explores the ways in which gaming has informed the evolution of computing technologies, as well as alternate forms of game design and play that emerged at various points over the course of the history of computing.  He is particularly interested in the hobbyist programming communities that emerged with the development of the personal computer, and the ways in which programming was both a form of game design and game play. Matt's background is varied.  Following his own interest in programming, he pursued a Computer Science degree at the undergraduate level upon finishing high school.  He then realized that he needed a long break from computers, and eventually re-enrolled in university as a History student.  He followed his interest in medieval history into grad school, before deciding to make another sea change.  At the Faculty of Information he reconnected with computers and games, and expects the relationship to stick this time. Outside of academics, Matt is an avid gamer and retro game enthusiast.  He has lately been working on several retro game projects, emulating 8 and 16-bit graphics over the web using HTML5 and Javascript. He is also interested in experimental and toy programming languages, as well as programming language design. Matt is married and has a two-year old daughter that is already intrigued by the flashing lights and sounds emanating from his laptop computers.

Warm wishes,

Sandra Danilovic, BFA, MA, SSHRC Doctoral Fellow
Faculty of Information, University of Toronto
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