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September 12 5a7 Symposium: DAO and Utopia

Posted by Carolyn

For this week’s 5a7 Symposium I (Carolyn Jong) will be presenting some of the highlights from my thesis research on Dragon Age: Origins and hosting a discussion on utopian impulses and neoliberal rationalities in digital role-playing games. To give you an idea of what that might look like, here is my abstract for the upcoming Society for Utopian Studies Conference in Toronto:

“Dragon Age: Origins is a popular digital role-playing game developed by BioWare (2009) and set in what is frequently described as a “dark fantasy world.” This paper argues that despite an apparent emphasis on political intrigue, racial tensions, and social inequalities, the game allows the player to overcome these difficulties through a series of symbolic acts that seem to be reflective of a utopian drive towards collective harmony. While Dragon Age: Origins does not necessarily project the image of a perfect society, the process of gathering an army does provide opportunities for players to imaginatively resolve what Frederic Jameson refers to as “unresolvable social contradictions.” Drawing on examples of subjective responses to several of the game’s main quests, the author explores how binary oppositions between good and evil, nature and culture, chaos and order are understood in relation to contemporary sociopolitical issues, including the subjugation of aboriginal peoples and the war on terrorism.”

If you are interested in talking about any or all of these ideas come on down the 5a7. I’ll throw out a few key points to get us going, but overall I’m hoping for this to be a relaxed discussion and brainstorming session.

Where: Technoculture, Art, and Games (TAG) LAB, EV 11.425, Corner of Guy and St. Catherine O.
When: Wednesday, September 12, 5pm-7pm
Who: Anyone is welcome, please feel free to bring friends or colleagues who might be interested.
What: Discussion on digital role-playing games, neoliberalism, and utopianism.