27
Mar
2013

Narratives of Independent Production in Video Game Culture - Paolo Ruffino

Paolo Ruffino (Goldsmiths, University of London)

Narratives of Independent Production in Video Game Culture’

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In this presentation I will discuss some of the latest iterations of independent gaming. The notion of ‘independence’ has been introduced in video game culture in order to define a way of producing video games where developers are also responsible for the publication and distribution of their own work. This phenomenon has often been described in revolutionary terms by video game magazines and industry practitioners, as representing the democratisation of the production process of a video game which is allegedly no longer dependent onexternal figures to reach its public. A significant network of independent developers has been emerging in the last few years, assisted in reaching public visibility by a large number of events and institutions. The Independent Games Festival, started in 1998, is the most famous event. Other conferences include Indiecade and, in Scandinavian countries, the Nordic Game Jam, on top of many other events and industry exhibitions which now tend to display at least one independent session or track. In 2012, the documentary ‘Indie Game: The Movie’ has been awarded at Sundance Film Festival and has gathered further attention on this phenomenon.

The concept of independence seems to have emerged in video game culture as a discursive redefinition of some of the practices of production of a video game. As such, it is not only descriptive but also generative of further practices and interpretations. The argument I want to put forward is intended to contrast with the view of independent gaming as founded merely on shifts in technological, economic or managerial practices. I propose that independent gaming should also be understood in terms of the influences it receives and replicates, such as those coming from the creative industries and contemporary forms of immaterial labour. From this perspective I will discuss how ‘independence’ might work as a discursive justification for the introduction of individualised forms of work in the game industry. Also, this change appears to be framed on similar discourses currently emerging in video game culture, where forms of openness, user-generated content, hacking and players’ engagement are narrated as revolutionary and positive practices of production and consumption. Independent gaming can thus be seen as part of a broader phenomenon and as a form of re-interpretation of existing discourses which have been emerging in different contexts, such as Web2.0, software engineering and creative industries.

Bio

Paolo Ruffino is a Visiting Tutor and PhD student at the Media and Communications department at Goldsmiths, University of London, Lecturer at the Game Cultures programme at London South Bank University, and Research Fellow at Leuphana University. His research project is based on a cultural analysis of video game consumers and, particularly, of the emergence of the prosumer in the video game industry. It involves a study of the concepts of consumer and producer, the history of the medium of the video game and phenomena such as ‘modding’, independent gaming, gamification and game art. His interests include video game theory and culture, semiotics, cultural analysis, digital media and ‘new media’ art.

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21
Mar
2013

Film Art in the Body of the City: Moving Image Practice as Performance - Matthew Hawkins

Matthew Hawkins (Coventry University)
‘Film Art in the Body of the City: Moving Image Practice as Performance’
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In 2011-12 Matthew Hawkins helped to organise an independent short film festival and a series of filmmaking workshops in the local community of Plumstead, South East London.  He has also worked as a filmmaker in the area since 2006, producing short film, documentary films and experimental works. Being an impoverished community, Plumstead is home to a rich multi-cultural community with a large Indian, Nepalese, Nigerian and Polish population.  This vibrant mix of cultures and ethnicities produce tensions, conflicts, differences and extreme occurrences, all of which feed into the art produced by people living within the boundaries of the place.  Drawing from the work of Gilles Deleuze, Hawkins will screen extracts from his short film and discuss how the affective nature of the place in which artistic work is produced influences the way in which the work is produced as well as the form, style and narrative of the final piece itself. Hawkins has experienced community participation in art production as an unpredictable process, whilst enabling the members of the community to meet and affect each other’s creative output.  The presence of a filmmaker changes the place, as the place changes the artistic work produced.  This mutually affective exchange of forces and events calls into question the traditional borders of film-set-highstreet-participan-consumer-actors, and opens the space to the potential for new lines of creative possibilities.
Bio
Matthew is a lecturer in Media Production at Coventry University. His research interests include film theory, focusing on affect and tone in narrative cinema, ethnographic and documentary film, and the pedagogy of film practice.  His current research project is focused on the concept of affective tonality, and how this can be used as a tool for understanding the experience of cinema, and how film theory can emerge through film practice, drawing theoretically on the empiricism of Gilles Deleuze, and findings within the field of neuroscience concerning the body’s role in cognition
He is cofounder of the Edge of the City Film Festival, based in South East London. Matthew arranges screenings of a range of challenging international and domestic films, both short and feature length, to underrepresented audiences on the outskirts of the city. As well as curating a programme of classic films he is also responsible for seeking out original work from emerging and unknown filmmakers to screen in a community traditionally deprived of such material.  He is also involved in organising and delivering free filmmaking and film history workshops to the local people.
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6
Mar
2013

Platform Communism - Joss Hands

In recent years we have seen an increasing reliance on new forms of social media platform to coordinate and augment political movements around the world, often short-circuiting  traditional means of corporate and state control. In the same period we have seen a widespread revival in the currency of the the ‘idea of communism’ being consciously rehabilitated by a number of thinkers such as Slavoj Zizek, Alain Badiou and numerous others. This paper looks to the relationship between these two tendencies and asks whether there might be such a thing as a ‘platform communism’, what this might look like and what confronts its realisation.

Bio

Joss Hands is reader in media and critical theory at Anglia Ruskin University where he is director of the Anglia Research Centre in Media and Culture, he is author of ‘@ is For Activism: Dissent Resistance and Rebellion in a Digital Culture’ from Pluto Press, 2011.

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6
Mar
2013

alt.media: Create to Engage - Helen Keegan

I will describe the use of alt.media to create learning experiences for undergraduate and postgraduate cohorts in a transdisciplinary context. Exploring themes around identity, creativity, engagement, remix culture, spreadable media and curiosity, I will present a series of projects which centre on open educational practices where formal education and informal learning practices collide, subverting traditional methods through folk creativity, identity play, performance and transmedia intertextuality. Following Jenkins et. al. (2013) in their critique of the notion of ‘virality’, and developing ideas around ‘spreadability’, I will highlight our use and exploration of memes and remix culture through open production practices and crowdsourced research. I will also present an experiment in Alternate Reality Gaming to introduce mystery and intrigue into the curriculum, raising questions around produsage, identity play, and hoaxes online. Through highlighting a range of practices, many of which resonate strongly with open media and creative activism, I will encourage participants to consider everyday creativity, audience engagement and media production, consumption and critique.

Bio

Helen Keegan (@heloukee) is a National Teaching Fellow (UK Higher Education Academy) and Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the University of Salford, UK.  Her expertise lies in curriculum innovation through social and participatory media, with a particular focus on creativity and interdisciplinarity. She is known for her work on digital cultures and identities, social technologies and the interplay between formal and informal learning; Helen works across sciences and media arts, developing partnerships and creative approaches to learning and collaboration. As a regular international speaker, recent engagements have included the New Media Consortium at MIT, BBC Global News and the European Distance Education Network.Alongside presenting and consulting, Helen has published in journals and edited collections including the European Journal of Open and Distance Learning, Selected Papers of Internet Research, and the Handbook of Research on Social Software and Developing Community Ontologies. For more info see http://www.acoustics.salford.ac.uk/profiles/keegan/

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6
Mar
2013

We Are Open: Openness in a new public art gallery and social space - Ruth Catlow

I will talk about how concepts and practices of openness have shaped the values, programmes and infrastructures of Furtherfield as an independent community for arts, technology and social change. In Spring 2012 Furtherfield opened a new public gallery and social space in the heart of Finsbury Park in North London.  We want to connect the local audience (many of whom are new to art) with the work of a long-standing community of artists, technologists and activists who have a longstanding engagement with a range of open practices. “Such participatory production and “media democratisation” counters elitist propaganda that art is a special activity for special people… and returns the outcomes of inventiveness to the common for mutual enjoyment and open-ended reiteration. (Da Rimini, 2010) I will draw on artworks and curatorial projects from the Furtherfield Programme that are informing our work and some of the strategies that we are developing.

Bio

Artist, curator and co-founder with Marc Garrett of Furtherfield, an online community for art, technology and social change since 1997; now also a public gallery in the heart of Finsbury Park, London. Her collaborative, intermedia artworks and projects are exhibited and hosted in international venues and include Rethinking Wargames (Lowfi netart commission 2003) VisitorsStudio (awarded the Grand Netart Prize in 2009), WeWontFlyForArt (2009) and Zero Dollar Laptop (2010-ongoing). Co-editor of Artists Re:Thinking Games (2010) and Collaboration and Freedom– The World of Free and Open Source Art (2011) a collection for Arts Council England and P2P Foundation. Currently collaborating on a public game art project with Mary Flanagan called Local Play. Ruth is also Head of Writtle School of Design, for arts and design in the environment. http://furtherfield.org http://writtle.ac.uk/design

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5
Mar
2013

Casey Kelbaugh in Conversation with Matt Johnston

Casey Kelbaugh is a photographer and founder of the now-worldwide phenomenon 'Slideluck Potshow'

Casey talks here with Matt about the importance and need for the physical event in 21st century publishing and the challenges associated with trying to bring that experience to an online community.

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21
Feb
2013

Picturing the Body: Bertil Nilsson Artist Talk

Bertil Nilsson talks about his photographic practice, his project and first book title 'Undisclosed: Images of the Contemporary Circus Artist', and ideas around movement and the human form.

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14
Feb
2013

Picturing the Body: Michelle Sank Artist Talk

Photographer and educator Michelle Sank talks about her practice around social documentary, and addressing issues of social and cultural diversity.

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8
Feb
2013

Picturing the Body: Anthony Luvera Artist Talk

Photographer Anthony Luvera presents his photographic work and long term project with homeless and ex-homeless people in London and Belfast, and discusses issues of collaboration and authorship.

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18
Jan
2013

Picturing the Body: Dr Adrienne Evans on the Representation of the Body

Senior Lecturer in Media and Communications, Dr Adrienne Evans talks to the Picbod claas about the representation of the body via media and throughout history, as part of the Picbod lecture series.

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