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Layers of Performativity
Lorene Shyba MFA PhD
University of Calgary,
School of Creative and Performing Arts
In Will Wright...
Video of Creature Stage, created with Camtasia
The Layers of PERFORMATIVITY
1. Inspiration
2. The Industry
3. Spectacle
4. The Sacred Sphere
5. Transformation
6. Doublin...
Layer 1: INSPIRATION and The Auteur
“Each of us has an inner dream that we
can unfold if we just have the courage to
admit...
“I’ve always enjoyed making things.
…
When I started doing games I wanted to give
the player a tool so that they can creat...
“Linguist philosophers J.L. Austin and
J.R. Searle distinguished between two
kinds of utterances: ‘constantives’ or
statem...
Creative Gamaturgy is a way to infuse sensory
discoveries into the game-making process as a
creative tool for game designe...
“The play-element was present and significant
from the beginning ... some serious, some
playful, but all rooted in ritual ...
Spore Tribal Stage
Layer 5: TRANSFORMATION
“Rite of Passage” is a transformance,
changing status of relationship and identity.
In “rites of p...
The Hunter/Gatherer creature lays an egg!
Layer Six: DOUBLING and DUALITY
“All performance involves a consciousness of
doubleness, through which the actual
executio...
Layer 7: OMNIPOTENCE and CAMERA’S EYE
“God Games” are a sub-genre of Simulation Games
where the player is in the position ...
Findings and Implications
According to Salen and Zimmerman, “Meaningful
Play,” especially as an experiential system, can
o...
The Montessori Way
“The environment must be rich in motives
which lend interest to activity and invite the
child to conduc...
TRIPLING (Further to Doubling)
“Doubling” gets amped up as “tripling” where
characters perform for each other.
Layered ove...
Immersion and Gender Shapeshifts
Subjectively, I have been immersed as an embodied
participant in the game, discovering th...
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Layers of Performativity

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These slides are from a University of Calgary class in Performance in Film and Videogames.

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Layers of Performativity

  1. 1. Layers of Performativity Lorene Shyba MFA PhD University of Calgary, School of Creative and Performing Arts In Will Wright’s Videogame Spore
  2. 2. Video of Creature Stage, created with Camtasia
  3. 3. The Layers of PERFORMATIVITY 1. Inspiration 2. The Industry 3. Spectacle 4. The Sacred Sphere 5. Transformation 6. Doubling and Duality 7. Omnipotence
  4. 4. Layer 1: INSPIRATION and The Auteur “Each of us has an inner dream that we can unfold if we just have the courage to admit what it is. And the faith to trust our own admission.” – Julia Cameron The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity
  5. 5. “I’ve always enjoyed making things. … When I started doing games I wanted to give the player a tool so that they can create things. and then give them context for that creation. To really put the player in the design role.” – Will Wright, interviewed by Celia Pearce Will Wright, Auteur: The Sims, Sim Earth, Spore
  6. 6. “Linguist philosophers J.L. Austin and J.R. Searle distinguished between two kinds of utterances: ‘constantives’ or statements, and ‘performatives’ like “I bless you” that perform an act in their being said.” – Marvin Carlson, Performance: A Critical Introduction Layer 2: THE INDUSTRY and making it happen
  7. 7. Creative Gamaturgy is a way to infuse sensory discoveries into the game-making process as a creative tool for game designers. This includes sparking up creative teams through improvisation, mapping and modelling of characters and relationships, and ways that visual, physical, and aural texts can work together to assist in the creation of emotionally rich games . —Lori Shyba, Beyond Fun and Games: Interactive Theatre and Serious Videogames Layer 3: SPECTACLE: Performance, Music, Mise-en-scène
  8. 8. “The play-element was present and significant from the beginning ... some serious, some playful, but all rooted in ritual and production of culture by allowing in the innate human need for rhythm, harmony, change, contrast and climax to unfold in full richness.” – Johan Huizinga Layer 4: SACRED SPHERE and Ritual
  9. 9. Spore Tribal Stage
  10. 10. Layer 5: TRANSFORMATION “Rite of Passage” is a transformance, changing status of relationship and identity. In “rites of passage” something happens during performance. … both symbolizing and actualizing a change in status. – Richard Schechner, Performance Theory
  11. 11. The Hunter/Gatherer creature lays an egg!
  12. 12. Layer Six: DOUBLING and DUALITY “All performance involves a consciousness of doubleness, through which the actual execution of an action is placed in mental comparison with a potential, an idea, or a remembered original model.” – Richard Bauman “All the world is not, of course, a stage, but the crucial ways in which it isn’t are not easy to specify.” – Erving Goffman
  13. 13. Layer 7: OMNIPOTENCE and CAMERA’S EYE “God Games” are a sub-genre of Simulation Games where the player is in the position of controlling the game as an entity with divine powers. “What kind of god will the player become? They might be a nurturing god, an incorrigible god, going out and conquesting, or a networking god, building alliances ...” – Will Wright
  14. 14. Findings and Implications According to Salen and Zimmerman, “Meaningful Play,” especially as an experiential system, can occur on larger stages of culture. Conflating and synthesizing these layers of performativity leads to the conclusion that Spore is “Meaningful Play.”
  15. 15. The Montessori Way “The environment must be rich in motives which lend interest to activity and invite the child to conduct his own experiences.” – Maria Montessori “If there is one difference I might be able to make in the world, I’d like to give people a better calibration in Long Term Thinking.” – Will Wright
  16. 16. TRIPLING (Further to Doubling) “Doubling” gets amped up as “tripling” where characters perform for each other. Layered over that is the player, immersed in the action as a “puppeteer,” a performative action of performing for “other,” the “other” being: • the other virtual character, and • intriguingly, others humans in the Spore online community.
  17. 17. Immersion and Gender Shapeshifts Subjectively, I have been immersed as an embodied participant in the game, discovering the essence of something as it is experienced. It makes me feel … Overburdened. Hunting, Battling, Forming Alliance AND Laying Eggs! Hence, the power of meaningful/serious games and recognizing one’s values and moral beliefs.

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