CfP: The Video Games Conundrum (AAH 2016)

This session will explore the possibility of theorising video games in relationship to and within art history. The session aims to locate and investigate questions such as: Can we identify moments when art history and the history of video games are bound together? Are there modes of enquiry that can be developed to mutual benefit? Can video games challenge now canonised and hegemonic discourses within art history?
Call for Papers: The Video Games Conundrum (AAH 2016)
Association of Art Historians Annual Conference and Bookfair
University of Edinburgh
7 – 9 April 2016
Deadline for abstracts: 9 November 2015
In and Out of Art History: The video games conundrum 
Bill Balaskas, University for the Creative Arts & Leonardo Electronic Almanac (MIT Press), bbalaskas@ucreative.ac.uk
Joseph Taylor McRae, University for the Creative Arts
In recent years, renowned museums such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York have started acquiring video games for their permanent collections. At the same time, other leading art institutions have been expanding their engagement with video games beyond collection and preservation. For instance, in 2013 the Victoria and Albert Museum in London appointed its first ever Games Designer in Residence. Those initiatives reflect the rapid technical and conceptual evolution of video games over the past four decades, which has resulted in their gradual recognition as a new type of cultural object. However, the firm establishment of video games as a distinct art form remains a rather contested subject not only amongst art historians, but also amongst cultural theorists at large.
Subjects addressed by the session’s papers may include, but are by no means limited to: historical precursors; intersections with digital theories and methodologies; video games as interactive and experience-based art; artistic practices of multiple authorship; online gaming and the democratisation of the cultural object; indie games; ‘artgames’ and their relation to the mainstream gaming industry; ludological and narratological approaches.
Email paper proposals to the session convenors by 9 November 2015.
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