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SLOW MOVES: Toward a Gaming Aesthetics of Inactivity

  • Location:
    Hunter College MFA Studio Building , 450 W. 42st street (2nd floor)., New York

CAA Panel - open to
the public.
Hunter College MFA Studio Building
450 W. 42st street (2nd floor).
12 - 2pm Saturday the 12th
Paolo Pedercini
Joe McKay
Brody Condon

Moderated by Melissa Ragona, Associate Professor of Art, Carnegie Mellon University

Informed by cybernetics and information technology, most contemporary game
theorists, players, and programmers think of the video game as an action-based
Action defines the “moves,” the various “plays” that occur across engines,
users, and audiences. Grammars of action have replaced fictions of
interactivity as the prevailing aesthetic muscle of gaming drive and structure.
In contrast to the roller derby aesthetics of such games, many artists are
reconfiguring fields of action as sites of relaxation, contemplation and
affect. Works like Sweetpads (2004) by France Cadet, Massage Me (2007-08) by
Hannah Perner-Wilson and Mika Satomi and Steve Lambert’s Simmer Down Sprinter

are games that reward slow, even nonchalant responses. The goal is to chill.
Tense up and one’s player runs backward. Turn aggressive and one loses control
of one’s avatar.   This panel explores how ideas of player
user-positions, and interface performativity are being transformed by critical
moves toward “slowness,” “inactivity,” “tenderness,” and “relaxation.” Other
possible questions presenters could address include: How are earlier MOD-based
game aesthetics, i.e. the work of Brody Condon [modifications of source code
with generative qualities] informing more recent projects on rethinking
“action,” “player,” and “gaming atmosphere?” How do newer forms of “offline
passivity,” i.e. Machinima projects comment back on players and playing? How
are contemporary artists using game situations to rethink sites of radical
play? What kinds of inversions are occurring in terms of gamic performance?