Technoculture, Art and Games (TAG) is an interdisciplinary centre for research/ creation in game studies and design, digital culture and interactive art


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TAG goes to Mexico City

Posted by Lynn

(The expresso bar at CENART where the exhibition and conference took place.)

We’re back!

TAG PhD students Carolyn Jong, Ida Toft and Skot Deeming have just returned from an adventure in Mexico City where they went with Lynn and Bart to the Transitio Festival and conference. Transitio is Mexico’s most important festival of new media art and the theme this year was games and shared change -with Ricardo del Farra as the overall invited artistic director

Ida, Carolyn and Skot stayed in the old centre of the city where entire streets are  dedicated, for example, to recycled electronics or musical instruments or prosthetics. Lynn and Bart stayed near the exhibition venue -a much less interesting area but close to the Coyoacan neighborhood famous as the area where Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera lived, The group spent quite a bit of time walking and eating in Coyoacan and visiting museums.

Ida, Skot and Carolyn curated a section of the exhibition entitled Resistance at Play. (see Resistencia en juego). They chose 5 games for the show :

Keep Me Occupied by Ana Anthropy (2012)
Keep Me Occupied is a resolutely optimistic take on the theme of occupation and collective action. The game is played by two players, who cooperate in order to navigate through a vertical maze of blocked passageways, each of which can be opened by standing on (or occupying) a button. Players have 60 seconds to rise as high as they can, at which point the game is over and two more players can take their place. The avatars of the previous players remain on the screen, occupying the last buttons they touched during their game. In this way players are encouraged to build on the work of their predecessors, with each new pair of players contributing to the endeavours of the next, and allowing the movement as a whole to ascend ever higher. The game originally ran on the OAK-U-TRON 201X mobile arcade unit, which was constructed by Alex Kerfoot and Mars Jokela for Occupy Oakland.

#PRISOM by Mez Breeze and Andy Campbell (2013)
#PRISOM is a Synthetic Reality Game in a city of glass and heavy surveillance in which the spaces for laughter, friendliness, love, individuality and imagination barely exist. Exploring the city and its surveillance points the players learn more about the state, the system and its points of view.

Spy Jammer by Daniele Hopkins. (2013)
Our online presence us constantly negotiated by all manner of cookies, pings, passwords and EULAs. Spy Jammer highlights the surveillant nature of online navigation by representing it as a first person stealth action game, where players must attempt to circumvent, circumnavigate and remain hidden from the omniscient ‘eyes’ of websites, agencies, and marketers who buy, sell, and review our personal data.

The Cat and the Coup by Peter Brinson and Kurosh ValaNejad (2011) The Cat and the Coup is a documentary videogame in which you play the cat of Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran. During the summer of 1953, the CIA engineered a coup to bring about his downfall. As a player, you coax Mossadegh back through significant events of his life by knocking objects off of shelves, scattering his papers, jumping on his lap and scratching him. Players bear witness to the events as they unfold, rather than becoming direct actors within them.

Assent by Oscar Raby.(2014)
In the 1970s, Oscar Raby’s father participated in Chile’s military coup under the rule of Augusto Pinochet. As part of a militia force partrolling rural regions within the country, Raby’s father himself participated in, and bore witness to all manner of atrocities and abuses. Assent revisits this time in Raby’s father’s life, but through the lens of the son having a conversation with his father.Made for the Oculus Rift, Assent asks us to walk with Raby (as his father) through the countryside on the way to a village that was the site of a massacre. It asks us to bear witness to the burden Raby’s father has carried with him, and it’s long lasting effects on Raby himself.?

Skot, Ida and Carolyn also gave presentations at the conference as did Bart and Lynn. Lynn then co-led workshops based on a card game originally developed by Gina Haraszti, Lynn and Nina Czegledy. Nina worked with a team from OCADU to develop one version of the game called Doble Debate which was the main focus of the workshop. The game uses humour, whimsy and imagination to transmit knowledge about a variety of disabilities and to change attitudes about difference and disability.

The card game workshop

The card game workshop

Natalie Jeremijenko and Lisa Ma play the card game

Natalie Jeremijenko and Lisa Ma play the card game.