Docfest is about halfway done,
and it’s been so lovely so far.
The Interactive Portrait Cushions
are hung right of the entrance to
the exhibition space, and I’ve had
great conversations with people about the unique pleasures and challenges of handmade computers.
I just finished a panel discussion with IP Yuk Yiu about his piece, to Call a Horse a Deer, comparing our approaches to simple interface design for conceptually complex works.
On Tuesday I will be on a
panel with Georgie Pinn in the
context of a series of discussions
about ecological and environmental
issues. I’m very excited that this
provides the opportunity to talk
about how computer media and
empathy discourse relate to bigger
global issues such as resource extraction, and waste flows to the global south.
I’m going to embarrass myself this Saturday by performing a Karaoke version of Sara Ahmed’s “Feminist Killjoys” to the tune of Chiquitita (I haven’t called it Critiquita, but gosh that seems like a missed opportunity now). Details below.
Join us as we mark the closing of Re-collections with Crit-a-Oke – a free cabaret event featuring live performances, projections and karaoke.
Crit-a-Oke feels like a late night party lecture. Squashing art criticism, theory and academic texts into a karaoke blender and sipping on the thinky musical smoothie that drips from the other side.
Think Donna Summer and the S.C.U.M. Manifesto.
Ask, “Does your Mother Know” about John Berger?
Get thoughtful and dancey all at once as Sheffield’s artists and thinkers perform their favourite arty texts as you’ve never heard them, to the songs that you (probably) know.
Specially created visuals projected during the performances will reference Site’s lifespan from 1979 to the present, with contributions from Society of Explorers.
Performing on the night:
- Sarah Christie
- Matthew Cull
- Oriana Franceschi
- Caitlin Merrett King & Josef Shanley Jackson
- Miriam Miller
- Zoyander Street
- Lucy Vann
Kollective Coffee and Kitchen will be open late serving refreshments.
Crit-a-Oke is brought to you by Tžužjj – a curatorial project between Louis Palliser-Ames and James Harper.
Interactive Portraits has been selected for the Sheffield Doc/Fest Alternate Realities exhibition at the Site Gallery! Check out the other pieces in the show here: https://sheffdocfest.com/films/interactive
Mine isn’t the only piece portraying LGBT issues. My Mother’s Kitchen by Maeve Marsde and Tea Uglow is an interactive documentary based on interviews with eight LGBTQI+ people, that takes shape around domestic spaces. Through the Wardrobe by Rob Eagle is an augmented reality installation centering on clothes and gender expression. Another Dream by Tamara Shogaolu is a Virtual Reality piece about a lesbian couple from Egypt who have to figure out what to do in the wake of post-revolution attacks on the community.
I’m excited to see To Call a Horse a Deer in the nominations for Best Digital Experience – I played it at AMAZE and found it very distressing and compelling. It’s not AR, VR, MR, or whatever, it’s just a lo-fi text-based game that gets into your head and alters reality for a little while. It sort of hypnotised me into a conceptual sensation I haven’t felt before, except perhaps when I was catatonic with depression – though the content isn’t actually depressing or overwrought in any way. Putting that weird sensation in the context of a representation of state oppression is fascinating – I always associate fascism with the stirring up of popular passions, but this is portraying something else, a kind of enforced dissociation.
This is a short documentary that I made a while ago but never published, about a collection of videogames that has come to be used to teach students at UC Irvine.
Back in 2017, I recorded a load of footage for a series of short documentaries about people who curate and archive games. I have a page for the whole series here.
Some stuff got published on sites that briefly had a budget for freelance video, but there were multiple issues that led to the series never finishing. Three of them were hosted by a website that technically isn’t really running anymore, and I don’t know what the future fate of their Youtube channel might be, so I’ve been uploading them to Vimeo.
The one I uploaded today never got published before – with this done, I have one more left to finish before this particular unfinished project is finally tidied away!
Interactive Portraits: Trans People in Japan is going to Now Play This festival at Somerset House in London this April! It’s going to be shown alongside work by absolutely incredible artists including Brenda Romero, Tale of Tales, Harry Josephine Giles, and Sokpop Collective – an overwhelming thing to contemplate, so I’m trying not to think about it.
Check out the website to see the whole list of beautiful artgames and book tickets.
I’m giving a talk this week as part of Sheffield Uni’s LGBT+ history month events. I’ll be looking at queer games in a very messy and vulnerable way, so I’m kind of hoping it’ll only be a small crowd, but if you do happen to be around and want to come along I’d love to see you there. Details below.
‘Exploring the recent history of “queer games”‘
Thursday 28th February 2019
12.30pm – 1.30pm
Arts Tower, Level 1 Boardroom
Zoyander Street is an artist and critic, and is currently undertaking a PhD in the department of Sociology at Lancaster University. Their PhD thesis is about how game developers working on emerging platforms have conceptualised the emotions of players. More generally, their research is aimed at the generation of sympathetic critiques of technocultures and non-dualistic queer readings of human-computer interaction.
Zoyander will talk about the recent history of independent videogames that express LGBTQ+ perspectives. The talk will explore questions about what we expect from art scenes, queer spaces, and digital media, and what happens when we don’t get what we expected.
The session will conclude with Q&A.
Coffee and cake will be provided, please feel free to bring your own lunch. All University staff and students welcome.
Book your place here