Theo Triantafyllidis, Radicalization Pipeline (frame), 2021
A conversation with the researcher, gamer and programmer WaiWai Chan in the frame of the program “Sweet Dreams. Beautiful Nightmares- Dreams, Games and Virtual Realities
Are open world games offering us an imagination of radical freedom? or, are we being sedated by a simulated collective fantasy? What if ‘open worlds’ are merely a form of controlled disobedience that is engineered by the global game industry? How can one be truly liberated if the colonial logic of old empires is embedded in the gaming algorithm?
Witnessing the ever-growing popularity and gross revenue of open world games (where players can roam freely in a level-free, virtual world.) and their influence on disobedience and control in the global political stage, researcher, gamer and programmer WaiWai Chan proposes that ‘open worlds’ are dreamworlds of two forms of empires--informational and imperial. Chan argues that these two interpretations of empire are not mutually exclusive but a conglomeration of algorithmic reinforcement of segregation and extraction that lingers from the old world. Extended from Wark's gamer theory, Patterson's idea of queer gaming and Nakamura’s cybertypes, this presentation sees blockbuster, triple As, open world games not only as technological artefacts but also cultural and political case studies. The Audience is invited to a critical conversation on urging issues such as neoliberal habitual production, cyber biopolitics and techno-orientalism. The engagement with these theories and concepts will inevitably lead to a close examination of the philosophy and aesthetics of 'anti-game art,' whose artists as game developers subvert the industrial and discriminating norms and pose the critical question:
How can a gamer game lucidly?
Waiwai Chan is Research Fellow at the University of Wolverhampton (UK,) and former Research Analyst & Programmer at the global newspaper, South China Morning Post. Chan currently researches in the area of philosophy of technology and social engagement for the FEINART programme. Fun Fact: Chan once injured her shoulders badly after playing 30+ hours of Cyberpunk 2077.