Advancement: H. Zhou (CM) - Infrastructure of Meaning: Representations in Software and Games
My thesis aims to approach the analysis and practice of software and video games through a critique of representation. Representation here means anything that can be said to represent another thing: words, images, sounds and gestures etc. A critique of representation is particularly useful because not only video game is the quintessential medium for digital representations, but software in general is also deeply entangled with representations for its functioning. My central argument is that thinking of software and video game representations purely through their resemblances and affinities ignores how software and games themselves distort, morph and alternate the nature of the object being represented. As a result, one becomes a worse practitioner and scholar in software and video games. By introducing the ideas of the late 20th-century philosopher Gilles Deleuze's work on representation, I propose three theoretical works in the field of game studies and software studies, which rethink basic concepts such as difference, repetition and boundaries so as to clarify representation's benefits and limits. As an application of those theories, I also propose to build a video game that aims to make the player critically reflect on the current artificial intelligence discourse brought about by the recent boom of machine learning based approaches. I aim to show that a rethinking of representation allows us to cut through the political, societal, philosophical and technical dimensions of software and video games so one can become a more conscious software and game practitioner.
Event Host: Hongwei Zhou, Ph.D. Student, Computational Media
Advisor: Michael Mateas
Wednesday, June 14 at 9:00am