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February 18, 2006



Competing Theorists and Practitioners Debate and Reflect

From March 15 - 25, 2006 Workspace Unlimited presents Breaking the Game Symposium, a first-iteration online event that brings together competing theorists and practitioners to debate and reflect on virtual worlds, computer gaming, immersive technologies, and new possibilities for artistic practice and experience. The symposium will open up the art of game modification to the contingencies of everyday life, where interactive technologies increasingly mediate physical spaces and human movements in very complex and dynamic ways. The symposium themes are: Hybridity, Overclocking the City and The Virtual as Interface to Self and Society.

Participants will consider gaming and other virtual technologies in relationship to building and designing cities, navigating and experiencing urban life, constructing identities, and creating and maintaining social interaction. The symposium encourages debate and discussion through multiple formats including text, video interviews, phone blogging, images, animation, and virtual walkthroughs.

We want the symposium to function as a workspace for testing out ideas, developing new tools, sharing creative processes and works in progress. Breaking the Game is a prototype for how we'd like to initiate and develop real projects around a specific focus, connect our own working process to the ideas and practice of others, and create networks that facilitate and feed into further collaborative opportunities.

For detailed information about the symposium please visit the Breaking the game website.

Breaking the Game symposium has three themes:

Hybridity considers new forms of art being produced within the increasingly hybrid environment of digital and physical space, in response to the multiplication of delivery systems and formats, and to the changing roles of artists, scientists, and technologists. We will discuss whether or not, and under what conditions, these hybrid contexts are effecting how artists produce, with whom they collaborate, and with what results. How are we consuming art differently and integrating it into our lives in new ways? Finally we will explore a variety of hybrid experiments artists are undertaking within the now established field of video gaming and multiuser virtual environments.

Overclocking the City proposes that we look more critically at gaming technologies and culture as storehouses of tools for designing new perceptual experiences and social interaction within the built environment. Participants will debate what constitutes public space in an electronically networked virtual world, and what forms this space might take. We will consider how virtual worlds, which for the most part, have been designed as autonomous environments, might have a functioning relationship with actual places, buildings, and people in physical locations.

The Virtual as Interface to Self and Society explores how the technologies of sensing, computation, and display are increasingly becoming important to how we connect to society and simultaneously engage in acts of self-reflection and self-fashioning. Virtual worlds, and particularly networked pervasive 3D environments, are useful contexts for critically and imaginatively exploring how we project our so-called self into computerized space, reconstruct it in digital form, and set about interacting with other reconstructed selves. In combination with "computer software programs, rules, commands, and networked interactivity" we perform a sense of presence to others by effectively manipulating "graphical, textual, navigational, and audio modes that are coded to correspond with our bodily senses" (Bolter). How is this self-presence achieved, to what ends, and with what effects? Participants in this session will explore an online multiuser environment together that will inform the basis for debate and discussion.
Workspace Unlimited website: www.workspace-unlimited.org

Thomas Soetens, artist, Workspace Unlimited
Kora Van den Bulcke, architect, Workspace Unlimited
Wayne Ashley, Independent Curator, New York

Posted by jo at February 18, 2006 11:39 AM