Videoludic Texts as Sites of Enactive Practice: Reframing the Text-Practice Dichotomy


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Slides for a talk at the Panel: "Understanding Play Practices: Contributions to the State
of the Art, at DIGRA 2009 "Breaking New Ground", International Digital Game Research Association Conference, Brunel University, London, 01-04 September, 2009

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  • VIDEOLUDIC TEXTS AS SITES OF ENACTIVE PRACTICE: REFRAMING THE TEXT-PRACTICE DICHOTOMYIn classical literary theory it has been pointed out by several authors (Iser 1974, Eco, 1984) that the activity of reading fictional texts involves readers in interactions with at least two types of intentional agency embedded in the text: i)  an implicit (or model) reader inscribed in the text by the empirical author to guide reader interaction with the text, and ii) an implicit (or model) author that emerges in the course of text as a trace that embodies the style, voice, or persona of its author. Interactive ludic texts and play practices they facilitate are complex blends of tangible and non tangible cultural artefacts. Their development, distribution and fruition involves many different types of explicit and implicit author-player agency. They may also exercise considerable persuasive power. Consequently, interactive videoludic texts must be conceived of as holistic game spaces where gameplay practices become enactively entangled with many other forms of social and cultural practice. This is especially the case in online games that engage players in real-life holistic play spaces all over the world. This paper will discuss some theoretical and practical consequences of understanding videoludic practice in this way. FIRST PAPER REFERENCES: 1. Bogost, Ian, 2007, Persuasive Games. The Expressive Power of Videogames. Cambridge (MA), London: The MIT Press  2. Eco, Umberto, 1984, The Role of the Reader, Bloomington: Indiana University Press3. Iser, Wolfgang, 1974, The Implied Reader: Patterns of Communication in Prose Fiction from Bunyan to Beckett. Johns Hopkins University Press4. Noë, Alva, 2004, Action in Perception. Cambridge (MA), London: The MIT Press
  • Videoludic Texts as Sites of Enactive Practice: Reframing the Text-Practice Dichotomy

    1. 1. DIGRA 2009<br />International Digital Game ResearchConference, BrunelUniversity, London, 01-04 September, 2009<br />
    2. 2. Patrick J. Coppock<br />University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Department of Social, Cognitive and Quantitative Science, School of Communication and Business<br /><br /><br /><br />Research Network: game_philosophy@unimore<br /><br />
    3. 3. My Title<br />Videoludic Texts as Sites of Enactive Practice: <br />Reframing the Text-Practice Dichotomy<br />
    4. 4. Two types of intentional agency in text<br />an implicit (or model) reader inscribed in the text by its empirical author, designed to model and guide reader interactions with the text<br />an implicit (or model) author that emerges in the course of a reading or viewing of the text as a kind of trace that embodies the particular style, voice, or persona of its author. <br />
    5. 5. The Play of Intention in Text<br />
    6. 6. “Open” Aesthetic Works<br />(cf. Eco 1984) <br />“Open works” are communicative strategies designed by authors with an active interpretational role for their readers in mind<br />“An open text cannot be described as a communicative strategy if the role of its addressee (the reader in the case of verbal texts) has not been envisioned as at the moment of its generation”<br /> “The reader as an active principle of interpretation is a part of the picture of the generative process of the text.”<br />
    7. 7. FictionalPossibleWorlds<br />Semioticsof Fiction<br />(Eco: Lector in Fabula, 1979; I Limiti dell’Interpretazione, 1990)<br />Fictionalpossibleworldsmaybecharacterisedas:<br />“Small worlds”, “furnished” with actors and objects with certain “properties”<br />“… alternative ways things might have been, not descriptions of these ways.”<br />“… states of affairs … described in terms of the same language as their narrative object<br />“Finite, enclosed”, “handicapped”, “parasitic on the real world”, must be “taken on trust”<br />“Constructedbyhumanminds and hands”.<br />
    8. 8. The AnthropologicalRole ofFictionalPossibleWorlds<br />Fictionalcharacters live in a handicapped world. Whenweactuallyunderstandtheir fate, thenwe start tosuspectthatwetoo, ascitizensof the actual world, frequentlyundergoourdestiny just becausewethinkofour world in the same way asfictionalcharactersthinkoftheirown. <br />Fiction suggeststhatperhapsourviewof the actual world isasimperfactasthatoffictionalcharacters.<br />Thisis the way thatsuccessfulfictionalcharactersbecomeparamountexamplesof the “real” humancondition.<br />
    9. 9. Reality, Fiction and Imagination<br />Cf. Iser<br />Fiction (bothliterary and lying/make-believe/simulation) mediatesbetween reality and ouranthropologicalability to imagine (and re-imagine) ourselves and our relations withvarioustypesof alterity or otherness.<br />Fictional play spaces/textsfunction as a kindof “transitionalobject” –cf. Winnicott<br />FictionalisingActs open up fordifferent “areasof play”, where new meanings can come intobeing<br />
    10. 10. Reality, Fiction and Imagination<br />Cf. Iser<br />Three TypesofFictionalizingActs<br />Selection–ofaspectsof reality to berepresented in fiction<br />Combination– (generally in non standard ways) ofrepresentationsofaspectsof reality in fictionaltexts<br />Self-Disclosure–impostion on readerby the text of a revelationofitsownfictiveness, forcing acknowledgementofits “as-if” character<br />
    11. 11. FictionalisingActs<br />Selectionresults in Intentionality<br />Combinationresults in Relatednesswithin the text<br />SelfDisclosureresults in Bracketing (suspensionofdisbelief)<br />
    12. 12. FictionalisingActs and the World<br />WORLD / BEING<br />EmpiricalObjects/Material FormsofOtherness<br />Human Culture<br />Convention-Governed Cultural Representations<br />FictionalisingActs<br />Selection<br />Combination<br />Self-Disclosure<br />
    13. 13. FictionalActs and the World<br />FictionalisingActs are underliedby:<br />Free Play –overstepswhatis and turns in the direction ofwhatisnot<br />InstrumentalPlay –brings to light the motivationforthiswoverstepping<br />
    14. 14. AmodalEnactiveExperience<br />Alva Noë “Action and Perception” (2004) <br /> All perceptual experience has an uneliminableamodalcomponent. <br /> This allows us to experience concrete aspects of the physical world as co-present, in spite of the fact that some of their empirical details may be hidden from our view at any given time. <br />
    15. 15. AmodalEnactiveExperience<br />The inherent “reality” of our embodied phenomenological experience is grounded in the fact that we know from past experience we have real possibilities to use our physical agency and mobility to explore and “fill out” details of practical, spatial and other relationships between ourselves, our environment and its various objects in ways that can be interpreted by us as meaningful. <br />
    16. 16. Tangible, Intangible & Mediated Cultural Artefacts<br />
    17. 17. Material Cultural Artefacts<br />
    18. 18. Intangible Cultural Artefacts<br />
    19. 19. Mediated Cultural Artefacts<br />
    20. 20. First PersonShooter<br />
    21. 21. RPG SecondPerson<br />
    22. 22. CharacterPortraits<br />Freeman was born in Seattle, Washington, and from the time he was a child, he had a strong interest in theoretical physics. After seeing some teleportation experiments, teleportation and its applications became Gordon’s obsession. He eventually received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics.<br />
    23. 23. SpeedRuns<br />
    24. 24. EnactiveInterfaces<br />
    25. 25. Player – Avatar Relations<br />
    26. 26. Brain-Wave Interface<br />
    27. 27. Player-Console Relations<br />
    28. 28. HolisticGameplaySpace<br />
    29. 29. HolisticCinematographicPlayspace<br />
    30. 30. TransworldTransmediaGamespace<br />
    31. 31. TransworldTransmediaGamespace<br />
    32. 32. TransworldTransmediaGamespace<br />