[-empyre-] proposal proposal +++ art and games world tour

Ana Valdés agora158 at gmail.com
Thu Sep 26 14:08:39 AEST 2019

Hi Isabelle and others. Thank you for your interesting work about games and
postcolonial narrative.
I started to review computer games at the very start, when the computers
were Commodore 64, Amiga and Atari, long before PC and consoles were used
to play.
I travelled to Palo Alto and interviewed Brenda Laurel one of the pioneers
at computer games aimed to women. She was sponsored by Paul Allen and his
Interval Research financed her projects.
The games at that time were sexist with an old fashioned narrative. The
women were princesses to be saved or villains.
Lara Croft was the first heroine but she played a male game based on
muscles and weapons.
I travelled to Damascus and met the people behind Muslim games where the
missions were aimed to destroy the old enemy Israel. But the games were not
innovative they repeated only the structure of the traditional war games
but changed only the flags and the villains to kill or maim.

tors 26 sep. 2019 kl. 00:09 skrev isabelle arvers <iarvers at gmail.com>:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Hi,
> Thank you so much Shu Lea for this introduction and also for this
> possibility to talk about my art and games world tour, following these 4
> amazing weeks of discussion.
> To celebrate my 20 years as curator in the fields of art and video games,
> I embarked in June 2019 on a world tour that takes me to over 15 countries:
> South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand, Japan, India, Colombia,
> Argentina, Brasil, Mexico, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Egypt, Lebanon,
> Israel and Palestine.
> I am meeting digital artists and independent game developers in order to
> come back with a richer, non Western-centric and more nuanced overview of
> the different ways gaming communities across the world are exploring the
> issue of diversity, with an emphasis on female, feminist, queer and
> decolonial practices.
> My expedition also investigates how we can create new concepts of “working
> together” and new connections within the worlds of game art, independent
> games, games DIY art.
> In each country I am visiting, I interview artists, game makers, curators,
> activists, hackers and also give lectures and workshops about the
> relationship between art and video games. During these workshops, I use
> independent, experimental and artistic games to make movies or hybrid
> artworks. I use some of the independent games I am finding on my world tour
> as a way to promote these games made in Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Thailand,
> which sometimes are still in the demo state. Here is a machinima made
> during a workshop in Thailand by a teenager :
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwlXtjTFXbw
> The aims are to break boundaries between the art and the game world and
> also to promote alternative, independent and experimental games in order to
> enhance diversity – gender, ethnicity and representation - in video games
> and to promote the use of games as a pedagogic tool and as a tool of
> expression to raise awareness about social, cultural, political and
> environmental issues. Cf my interview on these issues with Audrey Tang,
> Minister of Digital in Taiwan : https://youtu.be/sZ1WvVhzPgA
> By meeting media artists and indie game developers and then writing
> articles about their games or distributing podcasts of their interviews is
> also a way to better understand a local culture, history and politics
> through the lens of video games and artworks. In each country, I try to
> focus on projects that deal with control and submission in South Korea, or
> environmental issues or animism in Taiwan, mysticism in Indonesia,
> crypto-colonialism in Thailand, extreme right shintoism in Japan, etc.
> I monthly write articles in french for the online reviews Poptronics,
> Immersion and Usbek & Rica
> http://www.isabellearvers.com/category/art-and-games-world-tour/ but I
> would love to find an english spoken media interested to publish my
> articles in english as all my interviews are in english.
> To better understand the focus on women, feminist queer and decolonial
> practivces, here is an extract of the interview given to Régine Debatty for
> We-make-money-not-art : « Women are still underrepresented in the industry
> and even if things changed a lot after the Gamergate in the US, there is
> still a need to change the representation of women in videogames and to
> give more attention to games created by women or trans persons. In western
> countries, there is a quite new consciousness about it, with conferences on
> diversity in events like the Game Developers Conference or at Amaze, but I
> am really interested to discover and meet other feminists in the non
> western world as well as LGBTQI organizations around the world in order to
> connect with other realities and create new paths and connections between
> networks.
> I worked a lot abroad but it was a “western” abroad: I mostly worked in
> the US, in Europe, in Canada and in Australia. Western and white…
> There is a strong network for our practices in the western world, but
> diversity is a very recent concept in these worlds. It is great to feel
> that recently it even became a new “trend”, a “tendency”, people even
> mentioned feminism or diversity as a new “fashion”… Interesting but
> dangerous when you see the power of evangelism growing in countries like
> Brasil, USA or South Korea as well as abortion bans around the world. Our
> emancipation is still young and might be weak so we need to defend it and
> to connect around the world.
> Trying to promote decolonial practices is something very important when
> you think about games as a globalized culture. When I traveled to Brazil or
> Egypt to give machinima workshops, I was surprised to discover that
> youngsters were all playing to the same games: GTA, FIFA, Call of Duty,
> Fortnite, etc… even if the local culture was powerful. In my workshops, I
> tried to push youngsters to play Indie Games or games related to their
> local culture, but it appeared as less fascinating to them… less
> “beautiful”. It made me realize that we almost play the same games
> everywhere, which mean that the moral, ethics, concepts of these games are
> globalized. So, are they universal? Universalization is a colonialist
> heritage. I want to decentralize my point of view in order to tell an other
> story of videogames and art and create new types and axes of
> collaborations. »
> https://we-make-money-not-art.com/universalization-is-a-colonialist-heritage-an-interview-with-video-game-curator-isabelle-arvers/?fbclid=IwAR1O8T7L0-aCVbc1lQgf0vp3q1O6Jdei8NFWvM9geovZcuklh4FDHVi71Bc
> This project is giving birth to art and games exhibitions in Bogota
> (French Alliance), Buenos Aires (Game on!) and Enschede (Overkill Festival)
> in November as well as in the Digital Museum of Cairo next year. An
> international conference on post-colonial games studies will be held at la
> Sorbonne in fall 2020. I am also currently working on the organisation of
> other projects in the countries visited for the upcoming years. Any help,
> feedbacks, advices, etc are more than welcome as it is a one person project
> that entirely depends on other people collaborations, meetings and
> contacts. I am currently in Japan and will fly to India on sunday.
> Thank you,
> Isabelle Arvers
> [image:
> http://www.isabellearvers.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/animLogo.gif]
> <http://www.isabellearvers.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/animLogo.gif>
> Isabelle Arvers
> Curator, art critic and artist
> Wattsap: +33 661 998 386
> http://www.isabellearvers.com
> Director of Kareron www.kareron.com
> https://www.facebook.com/ArtGamesWorldTour
> twitter: @zabarvers
> instagram.com/zabarvers
> youtube.com/zabarvers
> https://vimeo.com/isabellearvers
> Skype ID: isabellearvers
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