RMeS Workshop: Platforms, Play and Cartography

Platforms, Play and Cartography: The Political Unconscious of Digital Landscapes

When? 27 May 2019
Where? University of Amsterdam BG 2 0.12 and BG 1 0.16
Time? 9.00-18.00
ECTS? 2 EC
Coordinator? Dr Bogna Konior (UvA)
Open to? PhD Candidates and RMa students, max. 15 participants
Register here

Today’s digital economy is structured by precarity and play, prompting questions about the relationship between new media and platform capitalism. Increasingly, these inquiries increasingly ponder the relationship between new media, emergent forms of labor and the natural environment, especially with regards to climate change. The popular dismissal of online multiplayer environments, modding economies, and computer games as isolating virtual experiences misses the opportunity to examine them as a form of digital geography through which we can analyse dramatic shifts in human relationships with the physical environment. The complex materiality of game platforms and the procedural nature of their experience require that we think beyond content or representation and instead sketch a cartography of playable digital landscapes sprawled across precarious platforms, often interlaced with politically-charged symbols and practices. These incoherent environments are our ‘cognitive maps,’ lenses that bring the contemporary interrelation of natural, economic and digital surroundings into focus.  

The workshop is organized by Dr Bogna Konior, a lecturer in new media and digital culture at the University of Amsterdam, and co-taught by Dr Peter Nelson (Assistant Professor, Hong Kong Baptist University), who have published in the fields of new media, digital culture and politics, and computer game studies. They are currently engaged in developing a multimedia project across theory and practice, which considers the relation between subcultural digital politics, platform economies, virtual environments and climate change.

This seminar and workshop event brings together a range of scholars from geography, media and game studies whose research has engaged with the digital geographies of computer games. The morning session will comprise seminar presentations from our speakers. Special topics will include the cartography of digital games, locative games, data and platforms, the blurring of play and labour, and the political, meme-filled unconscious of modded game environments.

The afternoon session will comprise a workshop, which will take participants into the virtual world Garry’s Mod, where we will build, discuss and test ideas in a real-time, publicly accessible virtual environment. Garry’s Mod offers a unique configuration of mechanical sophistication, player numbers (approximately 20,000 at any given time) and the type of hedonistic, asinine and anarchic online environment that can be a fertile ground to experiment with theoretical praxis. The workshop will include a ‘boot camp’ for basic interactions and building methods. As the workshops develop, we will introduce participants to more advanced techniques of saving and iterating built components, such that experiments can generate a ratchet effect and iterate upon acquired knowledge, all while navigating this politically and culturally-charged space.

The workshop will be filmed by a virtual camera, recorded and streamed on YouTube and Twitch. This content will then be archived for the production of the final project publication. Over the course of future workshops, we will make these files available to participants via Google Drive, where we can also share readings and collaborate on theoretical texts.

Assignment for graduate participants:

Through player accounts on Steam that we will provide, the students will be taught how to use the GMOD environment. They will make a short screen captured video using mods, dupes, saves and images we develop together and integrate the theoretical and conceptual insights into them either in the form of a voiceover or a text input via the multiplayer chat. These will be graded according to the ability to incorporate the preparatory literature and insights from the seminar (4 points), the clarity of the arguments made (2 points) and creativity (2 points). The grade will be awarded as the workshop grade for those requiring 1 EC for the completion.

Readings

  • Küchlich, Julian. 2005. “Precarious Playbour : Modders and the Digital Games Industry The History of Modding The Economy of Modding.” The Fibreculture Journal, no. 5.
  • Kirby, Alan. 2009. ‘Digimodernist Culture’ in Digimodernism: How New Technologies Dismantle The Postmodern and Reconfigure Our Culture. New York and London: Continuum.

OPTIONAL: Nelson, Peter. 2017. ‘A Game Made From Other Games: Actions and Entities in Garry’s Mod.’ Proceedings of the Philosophy of Computer Games Conference, Krakow.

Schedule

Seminar, BG2 0.12

09:00 Welcoming address: Dr Peter Nelson, Hong Kong Baptist University & Dr Bogna Konior, University of Amsterdam

09:30 Prof Sybille Lammes, University of Leiden

10:00 Thijs Van Den Berg, University of Amsterdam

10:30 – 11:00 **COFFEE BREAK**

11:30 Dr Clancy Wilmott, University of Manchester

12:00 Dr Alex Gekker, University of Amsterdam

12:30 – 13:30 **LUNCH**

13:30 Dr Marc Bonner, University of Cologne

14:00 Dr Emma Fraser, University of Manchester

14:30 – 15:00 **COFFEE BREAK**

 

Workshop, E-Lab BG1 0.16

15:00 – 18:00  Climate Unconscious in Computer Games: Theorising in Online Sandbox Environments

**DINNER & DRINKS**

 

RMeS Summer School 2019: Algorithmic Culture and Digital Literacy

RMeS Summer School 2019: Algorithmic Culture and Digital Literacy

When? 17, 18 & 19 June 2019
Where? University of Groningen
For? PhD Candidates and RMa Students
ECTS? 2 ECTS / 5 ECTS
Organizers? Dr Rik Smit, Prof. Dr Marcel Broersma
Confirmed Speakers? Prof. Jeremy Morris and Prof. John Cheney-Lippold
Register here

THE SUMMER SCHOOL IS FULLY BOOKED, please send an e-mail to rmes-fgw@uva.nl with your name, university and research school. We will put you on our waiting list.

Whether we watch films and TV series on Netflix, listen to music on Spotify, track our jogs on Runkeeper, or search for the best place to spend a weekend on Tripadvisor, our daily practices and experiences are mediated by algorithmic processes and interfaces. Moreover, we inhabit Smart Cities, carry around Smartphones, and live in Smart Homes. These technologies might make our lives more efficient and convenient, but they are also devices that gather data about ourselves and our relations to others, to be analyzed by (often) obscure procedures and parties. They bring about new digital divides between those who can access, read and use this data and those who cannot. Moreover, people require an extensive skill set and the literacy to navigate, interpret, resist, and appropriate this algorithmic culture.

Focusing on emerging dynamics between algorithmic power, knowledge, imaginaries, and access, this Summer School offers a variety of methods and theories on how to study such an Algorithmic Culture and the Digital Literary to live in it.

RMeS Summer School 2019 – Preliminary Programme

RMeS Network Event: How do You… Collaborate with External Partners?

How do You… Collaborate with External Partners?

A workshop on working with non-academic partners

Date and Time: March 22nd 2019, 13.15 – 16.00 (followed by drinks)
Location: Drift 13, Utrecht – Room 003
Register here

RMeS is happy to invite you to the 2019 edition of our annual RMA and PhD network event. This year’s event will focus on collaborating with external partners to fund and execute your research. How do you invite partners outside of the university to collaborate on a research idea? How can you secure funding for such collaborations? What are the ethical dilemmas in collaborating with external partners?

For all RMA students and PhD-candidates eager to look beyond university walls for doing your research: this is the event to attend!

The 2019 RMeS network event will have a workshop setup that consists of three parts:

  1. Why and how to collaborate with external partners? (Prof. Dr. Tamara Witschge, Prof. Dr. Wall, Dr. Amanda Paz Alencar)
  2. What to keep in mind when setting up or managing external collaborations? (Serena Oosterloo)
  3. What are the dangers or conflicts of interest that you can come across when collaborating with external partners? (Prof. Dr. Tamara Witschge, Prof. Dr. Wall, Dr. Amanda Paz Alencar)

We will have the following speakers:

  • Prof Dr Tamara Witschge is Rosalind Franklin Fellow at the University of Groningen, Faculty of Arts, holds a chair in Media and Cultural Industries. She runs the five-year, NWO-funded research programme “Entrepreneurship at Work” and the NWO-funded action research project “Exploring Journalism’s Limits”. Her research explores the ways in which technological, economic and social change is reconfiguring media and journalism, with a particular focus on cross-disciplinary collaboration, innovation and cultural entrepreneurship.
  • Amanda Paz Alencar is Assistant Professor in the Department of Media & Communication at Erasmus University Rotterdam, where she specializes in media and migration and intercultural communication. After completion of her degree she was awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship, a prestigious grant from the European Commission, to conduct her research project entitled ‘TV News for Promoting Interculturalism: A Novel Step towards Immigrant Integration’ at the Department of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam.
  • Professor Melissa Wall (California State University, Northridge) studies citizen/participatory journalism and is the editor of the book, Citizen Journalism: Valuable, Useless or Dangerous. Within this line of inquiry, she created the Pop-Up Newsroom, a temporary, virtual newsroom for citizen and student journalists. Her other research stream focuses on refugees and their information practices, particularly Syrian refugees and their cell phone usage.
  • Serena Oosterloo is a Research Assistant at the Utrecht Data School, where she manages external collaborations.

Registration: Please register by March 15th, 2019.

For questions of any kind, please contact us by email at phdcouncil.rmes@gmail.com

We are looking forward to meeting you there!

The RMeS PhD Council (Tim Groot Kormelink, Sofie Willemsen, Sanne Rotmeijer, Wouter Oomen, Rashid Gabdulhakov)

 

 

 

 

RMeS Seminar: Exploring Death… and Ways to Live

Exploring Death… and Ways to Live
A RMeS Seminar On Contemporary Theory, Creativity, The Earth And Us.

Organized by Dr. Rick Dolphijn UU/HKU
featuring Rosi Braidotti, Susanne Winterling and others

When? February 2019, Exact dates see below
Where? 
Utrecht University / University of Amsterdam
For?
PhD Candidates and RMa Students
Credits? 
2 ECTS
Registration

THE SEMINAR IS FULLY BOOKED, please send an e-mail to rmes-fgw@uva.nl with your name, university and research school. We will put you on our waiting list.

Platform for Posthuman Ecologies and the Contemporary (post)-Humanities (Utrecht University) /Sonic Acts Festival
With the Research School or Media Studies (RMeS)

“I meant to write about death, only life came breaking in as usual.”

Virginia Woolf

At the interstices of contemporary philosophy and contemporary art, psychoanalysis and ecology, we get together for a triptych of events that explore the concepts of death and life differently. Leaving modernist and anthropocentric oppositions behind us, our aim is to explore how different ideas of death give rise to different forms of life, to how these concepts relate to the organic and the inorganic, to space and time. Doing these explorations, we keep asking ourselves how thinking death and life otherwise allows us to practice an affirmative politics worthy of the earth today. How is a necropolitics through art and theory offering us new tools to think our earth in pain and to be a valuable part of it? With a close reading session, a workshop with prominent guests and a festival visit and intervention, this RMeS seminar aims to map some key thoughts that relate to life and death from a posthuman perspective

February 14, 2019 | Utrecht University
Dr. Rick Dolphijn
Close Reading Session: Still Alive and Already Dead

Readings:

  • Gilles Deleuze 2004 Painting Forces (from 56 to 64) in: Francis Bacon; the Logic of Sensation.
  • Continuum.
  • Michel Serres 1995 Dream (from 123 to 139) in: Genesis. University of Michigan Press.

February 21, 2019 | University of Amsterdam
Rosi Braidotti, Rick Dolphijn and Susanne Winterling
Workshop: a Necropolitics of Life

Readings:

  • Braidotti, Rosi (2019) excerpts from Posthuman Knowledge
  • Dolphijn, Rick (2018) The world, the mat(t)er of thought. In Michel Serres and the Crises of the Contemporary. Bloomsbury
  • Serres, Michel, Janina Pigaht and Rick Dolphijn (2018) A new culture to suit the world. In Michel Serres and the Crises of the Contemporary. Bloomsbury
  • Yazdani, Sara Elina Rundgren; Winterling, Susanne M. (2015) New Forms of Life: The Physicality and Poetics of Pictures. Objektiv. Tidskrift for kamerabasert kunst.

February 22, 2019
Sonic Acts Festival
Rethinking Death… and Ways to Live

 

The [urban interfaces] graduate seminar 2018-2019

The Right to the City & Urban Commons

Outline for the 2019 [urban interfaces] graduate seminar series at Utrecht University

Dates: 12 & 26 February 2019, 12 March (seminars); 19-20 March 2019 (workshop)
Location: MCW Lab, Kromme Nieuwegracht 20, Utrecht
Organized by: Nanna Verhoeff, Michiel de Lange, Sigrid Merx, and Lotte van der Molen from the [urban interfaces] research group at Utrecht University.
ECTS: 4 EC
More information: See http://urbaninterfaces.sites.uu.nl/
Fee: € 10,00 (partly covering coffee/lunch during workshop), please bring exact change on the first day of the workshop (March 19)
Registration via: RMeS-fgw@uva.nl
Please be sure to specify your master programme, national research school and university

THIS SEMINAR IS FULLY BOOKED. It’s no longer possible to register for this course.

New technologies and datafication in so-called smart cities affect how we interface with the city. Social, economic and technological changes also lead to new urban frictions, and increasingly put strain on collectively shared urban commons and the right to the city. This shifting landscape of urban politics and power dynamics and the role of media, arts, and performance, provides the framework for this seminar series.

In the graduate seminar series The Right to the City & Urban Commons , students participate in three seminar sessions and a 2-day ‘pressure cooker’ workshop. The first seminar will focus on conceptualizing the notions of ‘the right to the city’ and the ‘urban commons’. What are today’s urban commons and how can people claim their right to the city in contemporary shifting urban conditions? The second session is dedicated to current urban common practices, and the imagining of new ones, from the perspective of media, art and performance projects. Several case studies will be discussed and analyzed. The third seminar prepares participants for the two-day pressure cooker workshop, where students will learn how to put their theoretical knowledge into practice through the use of a ‘critical making’ approach.

Students prepare readings for every seminar and write short blog posts to be put on the website of [urban interfaces]. The pressure cooker workshop – organized in collaboration with partners HKU and Creative Coding Utrecht – consists of two days in which hands-on making is combined with in-depth theoretical analyses and inspirational keynote speakers. During these two days, students work in small groups on the design of urban public interventions that depart from Elinor Ostrom’s commons design principles. This critical making workshop trains students to put their theoretical knowledge into practice and to position themselves within the current debates on urban commons and the right to the city.