Presentation #4
Rafi Abdullah
Hotdesk
Hotdesk is a programme that supports artistic and critical research processes and values space as a crucial condition of artistic production. We hope to share and open our studio space as a resource to seed more possibilities for thought, conversations and collaborations.

Rafi Abdullah
Presentation #4
Hotdesk is a programme that supports artistic and critical research processes and values space as a crucial condition of artistic production. We hope to share and open our studio space as a resource to seed more possibilities for thought, conversations and collaborations.

Biography



Rafi Abdullah is a cultural worker working within research, writing and curation. His interests lie broadly in contemporary art vis-à-vis the politics of aesthetics, with a current focus on thinking through cultural institutions as ‘dis-imagination machines’.

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Reading List
15 December 2020


I’m sharing here a reading list that I hope to either read and mull over, skim, or dip into, depending on the capacities that I’m afforded (shoutout to the fact that reading, thinking and writing, are still a luxury for some of us).

Particularly, I’m interested in understanding and learning about 1) avatars as a way of navigating gender/body dysphoria in URL-AFK-IRL via Legacy Russell’s Glitch Feminism, 2) links between gaming technologies and violence in a time of war, 3) reality testing by way of simulations via Ian Cheng’s ‘Emissaries’, 4) as per the title, how to do things with videogames with specific interests in the chapters of ‘empathy’ + ‘pranks’, 5) Hito’s musing on why gaming, 6) and the potentialities/problematics of “imagining new worlds” by way of Live Action Role Playing (LARP).

Reading List (L—R)
  1. Russell, Legacy. Glitch Feminism: A Manifesto. Verso, 2020.
  2. Engberg-Pedersen, Anders. “Technologies of Experience: Harun Farocki’s Serious Games and Military Aesthetics.” Boundary 2, vol. 44, no. 4, 2017, pp. 155–78.
  3. Cheng, Ian. Emissary’s Guide To Worlding. Metis Suns, 2018.
  4. Bogost, Ian. How to Do Things with Videogames (Electronic Mediations). University Of Minnesota Press, 2011.
  5. Steyerl, Hito. Duty Free Art: Art in the Age of Planetary Civil War. Verso, 2019.
  6. Matthijs Holter, Eirik Fatland & Even Tømte. Larp, the Universe and Everything. Knutepunkt 2009.

Conversations with Atiqah Khalim and The Super System
14 November 2020


I spent some time talking to designer Atiqah Khalim and artist The Super System to try to understand people’s relationship with gaming — whether in an artistic and creative capacity or on a personal level — and our conversation unravelled across various topics concerning gaming: the possibilities of open world and gaming engines, technologies, stigma and ethics, communities/communality and more. Read the transcripts at the PDF below!

Some excerpts:

“[...] That's a great point that you brought up about there being a spectrum and that there could be two different ends to the spectrum. I do realize that happens. I'm not sure if you're familiar with Second Life? It's an open world game that I've been looking into... I've been digging into a lot of these random YouTube gameplays of Second Life. I see instances where, because of this anonymity that you mentioned, people feel like they have a free pass to become very vile. I've seen cyber bullying and blatant verbal racist attacks happening and various instances of these [...] ”
— Rafi

“But also, sometimes, like you're forced to conform to societal norms, right? Then this virtual world becomes your way of expressing something that you want to explore but you never had the means to.”
— Atiqah

“[...] It's kind of like playing a game where you are behind the console or behind a medium to actually control something that destroys another inanimate object. In this way, there will be this possibility that there are no life losses along the way. That is how I think gaming or gamification has changed and will change our reality.”
— The Super System

Transcript of conversation with Atiqah
Transcript of conversation with The Super System

Introduction
12 October 2020


For a start and to build a setting and environment for the hotdesking session, I’ve gathered a compilation of some music that follows loosely the trajectory of the development of gaming music: from the early 8-bit chiptune sounds via ‘Namco Game Music Vol. 1’(1987); to the shift towards using real-world, pre-recorded music via Heart of Darkness (1998), one of the early games to include an orchestral score; and to the landscape of ‘licensed’ soundtracks via Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (1999); to the segue of the inclusion of masterpiece cinematic scores such as Silent Hill (1999); and even more modern and inventive inclusion of game music via real time or curated radio stations such as Blonded Radio as seen in Grand Theft Auto V (2013).

Image Captions ( L—R )
  1. Namco Game Music Vol. 1 (1987)
  2. Final Fantasy OST (1987)
  3. Heart of Darkness (1998)
  4. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater (1999)
  5. Silent Hill (1999)
  6. Gran Turismo 5 (2010)

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