Gesture, Play and Technology: A Symposium

The Play Research Group at the University of the West of England invites you to participate in a day of presentations and discussions.

Monday, 17th May 2010
9.30am – 6.00pm

The body has of course always been central to our playful engagements with games and games technologies. Yet, the embodied player and theories of embodied perception have often been overlooked in the study and analysis of games and their players. Exceptionally, research around bemani games the Eyetoy have challenged this marginality.

Now, however, the Nintendo Wii and the much-trailed Microsoft Project Natal have put the player’s body and player gesture at the heart of gaming technology and the idealised player experience. Taking the ‘Your Body as Controller’ paradigm as our point of departure presenters at this event will consider the challenges and opportunities afforded by this potential shift in perspective.

Some of the questions to be considered will be:

• What kinds of techniques and technicities are facilitated through gesture-based gameplay and how should these be recorded, studied and theorised?
• How might theories of embodied perception shed new light on the relationship between virtual and material play?
• What further theoretical and conceptual innovations are possible/necessary/urgently required?
• Do cybernetics, haptics and kinaesthetics take a more central role in the field?
• What insights are afforded by raiding across the disciplinary borders of STS & HCI?
• What is the relationship between these forms of gameplay and other embodied engagements with media and media technologies?

Confirmed participants in the event are Bart Simon (Concordia, Montreal, Canada), Rune Klevjer (Bergen University, Norway), Patrick Crogan (DCRC, UK), Seth Giddings (DCRC, UK) and Helen W. Kennedy (DCRC, UK).

We are interested in hearing from potential contributors in the following areas:

• Innovative methodologies for researching this form of gesture/body as controller play.
• New concepts/terminologies that respond to the challenges posed by these new forms of play and the competencies that they necessitate and produce.
• Presentations based around the broader cultural and theoretical implications of this ‘new’ paradigm.

The format for the day will be participative and oriented towards the discussion and development of new research and new approaches. We are therefore particularly interested in case study based new research and/or work in progress.

To propose a presentation and/or case study/demonstration for the day please submit a 250 word (max) outline to by 22nd April 2010.

Presenter places are limited and will be confirmed by 4th May 2010 at the latest.

There is a £10 fee for the event – lunch and refreshments are included.

To book a place at the event please visit by 4th May 2010.

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