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02 JUNE 2015

A Game of One's Own: Towards a New Gendered Poetics of Digital Space

"In the opening pages of her classic essay, A Room of Ones Own, Virginia Woolf describes being blocked from entering the 'turf' of the University in Oxbridge by an administrative gate-keeper.

Instantly a man's figure rose to intercept me. … His face expressed horror and indignation. Instinct rather than reason came to my help, he was a Beadle; I was a woman. This was the turf; there was the path. Only the Fellows and Scholars are allowed here; the gravel is the place for me' (Woolf, 1929).

This scene invokes the ways in which women have been systematically barred from the digital playground, both as players and as creators of play space. To a large extent, the video game industry in the U.S. remains dominated by a boys-only ethos that harkens back to the gender-biased practices in the British academia of Woolf's day.[1] Games that are female-friendly are often couched in derogatory or dismissive terms: The Sims (Maxis, 2000) is 'not really a game'; casual games are not counted as 'real' games by many in the industry.[2] The result is that certain types of games, game mechanics, play patterns, and, as we'll see, particular types of game spaces have tended to dominate the field of games.

Although this paper discusses the ways in which digital game spaces have been strongly gendered towards male constructions of space and play, this does not necessarily mean we advocate creating exclusively female (or 'pink') games. As Woolf points out in her essay, the solution is not simply to create a distinctly feminine voice (although this is one potential angle of approach), but rather to promote the cultivation of an 'androgynous mind', which, she suggests, is already possessed by male authors of great note throughout history (she cites Shakespeare as an example). We propose drawing from a number of cultural practices, literary sources, and existing games in order to pave the way for a playground that is more open to female players. Thus we promote not only the definition of new feminine game spaces, but also encourage designers to think in terms of 'androgynous space' that engages all aspects of all persons: a space into which women and girls are invited and welcomed, but in which men and boys can also enjoy more diverse and nuanced forms of play than are typically available to them."

(Tracy Fullerton, Jacquelyn Ford Morie and Celia Pearce, "A Game of One's Own: Towards a New Gendered Poetics of Digital Space", The Fibreculture Journal : 11)

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TAGS

2008 • A Room of Ones Own (1929) • androgynous mind • androgynous space • boys-only ethos • British academia • casual gamesCelia Pearce • concepts of space • contested spaces • cultural practices • dangerous spaces • digital game spaces • digital playgrounddigital spacedolls house • domestic spaces • emotional space • enchanted worlds • female games • female players • female-friendly spaces • feminine conceptions of space • feminine game spaces • feminine voiceFibreculture Journal • game design as cultural practice • game mechanic • game spaces • games industrygames research • gender-biased practices • gendered spaces • gendered technology • gendered voices • gendering game space • Jacquelyn Ford Morie • male authors • male constructions of play • male constructions of space • MMOG • narrative spaces • nuanced forms of play • Oxbridge • pink games • play patterns • play spaces • poetics of digital space • procedural space • real games • regendered play space • regendering game space • secret places • social spacesThe Sims (2000) • Tracy Fullerton • video games industryVirginia Woolfvirtual spacesWilliam Shakespeare • women and games

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
25 MAY 2013

Digital Shoreditch: a digital and creativity tech festival

"Digital Shoreditch celebrates the outstanding creative, technical and entrepreneurial talent of East London and Tech City. We run monthly meetups, an enormous annual festival of the most talented digital and technical creatives, a comprehensive directory, hackathons, and more.

For Digital Shoreditch 2013 festival, Monday 20th–Friday 31st May, we'll have an awesome lineup of speakers for a week long workshop on everything happening in digital and tech, we're turning the basement of Shoreditch Town Hall into an extraordinary digital playground, and the incredible East London community will be sharing the love with a week of Open Studios, meetups and events."

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TAGS

2013 • augmented reality game • behavioural designBrick Lane • Clerkenwell • creative businesscreative community • creative society • creative talent • digital and creativity tech festival • digital and tech sector • digital creatives • digital exhibition • digital innovation • digital parties • digital playground • Digital Shoreditch (festival) • digital spaceeast London • entrepreneurial talent • festival • future brands • hackathon • interactive artworkinteractive installation • make and do • meetupShoreditch • Shoreditch Town Hall • South By South West • tech • Tech City • technical creatives • technical talent • technological changetransformational innovationUKuser experienceUXworkshop

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
22 JULY 2011

Animate Projects: Digitalis Commissions

"Animate Projects, with support from the Jerwood Charitable Foundation, invites UK–based artists and animators to submit proposals for films that – in a broad sense – explore, question, subvert or confound our expectations of art and the 'digital'.

To apply, read the guidelines and download the submission form from the Opportunities section. The deadline for proposals is 4pm, 24 August 2011.

The Digitalis Commissions are part of Digitalis, a strand of activities for 2011 that focus on the potential of the digital space as a site for artistic production."

(Animate Projects)

Fig.1 Teaser for "AnimateTV – 20 Years of Experimental Animation from the UK" (DVD features acclaimed works by key figures in British artists' animation, including Phil Mulloy, Paul Bush, Sarah Cox, Tim Macmillan, Run Wrake, Petra Freeman, Ruth Lingford, Jonathan Hodgson, AL and AL, Keith Piper, Andrew Kötting, Semiconductor, Chris Shepherd, David Shrigley, Stephen Irwin and Simon Faithfull).

Fig.2 Young–Hae Chang Heavy Industries (2008). "I'm Sucking on a Tailpipe in Seoul"

TAGS

2011 • 4mations • AL and AL • Andrew Kotting • Animate Projectsanimated • AnimateTV • animationanimatorsbroadcastChannel 4 • Chris Shepherd • confounding • David Shrigleydigital spacedigitalis • Digitalis Commissions • expectations of art • experimental animationexplorefilmfilms • Jane Wilson • Jean-Gabriel Periot • Jerwood Charitable FoundationJonathan Hodgson • Keith Piper • live action • Louise Wilson • movie • Paul Bush • Petra Freeman • Phil Mulloy • proposals • questions of art • Run Wrake • Ruth Lingford • Sarah Cox • Semiconductor (animator) • Simon Faithfull • site for artistic production • Stephen Irwin • subversiontelevision • the digital • Tim Macmillan • time-slice • UK-based animators • UK-based artists • Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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