play and violence

play and violence

Static, the London Consortium‘s online journal, aims at initiating “interdisciplinary intellectual debate about paradoxes of contemporary culture, Static presents contributions from an international team of academics, artists and cultural practitioners.” The first issue‘s core topic was play and violence—the editorial sounds very promising:

During the month of July 2005, the London Consortium organised a conference on the theme of “Playtime”. This event, which took place at the ICA, was an opportunity for a team of international scholars and artists to discuss the theme of playtime in relation to sports, video games, films, art, and other forms that play can take. One of these strands of reflection seemed to generate more debate than others and required further exploration; it was the articulation of play and violence.

Although play might appear innocent, childlike and spontaneous, it is also often rigidly organised and ritualised as well as incorporates some measure of violence, be it physical or psychological. From war games to actual warfare, from happy slapping to the humiliating performance art of Leigh Bowery, from installation art that defies the habitual uses of public places to video art that redefines our relation to nature, the first issue of Static explores the paradoxical nature of play and violence of the contemporary culture in its various forms and manifestations.

Though, surprisingly there is no entry dealing with computergames in particular, but at least three entries [I’ve just read them diagonally so far] have aroused my interest in respect to my project: “Circumtapes”: Playing with the appropriation of public space by Cornelia Schlothauer [compare ↵appropriation by mastership], Happy slapping: transatlantic contagion or home-grown, mass-mediated nihilism? by Robert Saunders [compare ↵parkour], and Playstations. Or, playing in earnest by Steven Connor.

The next issue of static will be dedicated to trafficking—the call for papers and the submission guidelines are out. Deadline will be the 10th January 2006.

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