Propositions from a Critical Play Perspective
Prof. Mary Flanagan, Department of Film & Media Studies, Dartmouth College
If games always hold within them cultural beliefs, norms, and human values, how are designers to tackle the thorny responsibility of designing digital games? In this talk, game designer, artist, and scholar Dr. Mary Flanagan examines the topics of games and values, games and art, the history of technology and games, and psychological approaches to design from a "critical play" perspective. How does art practice inform technological design? How can technologists take values into account? What pitfalls might designers face when making games exploring social issues such as biases and stereotypes? Flanagan will lead the audience through a number of propositions that uncover strengths and weakness of games as a medium for learning and revolutionary play.
Mary Flanagan is an innovator focused on how people create and use technology. Her groundbreaking explorations across the arts, humanities, and sciences represent a novel use of methods and tools that bind research with introspective cultural production. As an artist, the collection of over 20 major works range from game-inspired systems to computer viruses, embodied interfaces to interactive texts; these works are exhibited internationally. As a scholar interested in how human values are in play across technologies and systems, Flanagan has written more than 20 critical essays and chapters on games, empathy, gender and digital representation, art and technology, and responsible design. Her three books in English include Critical Play (2009) with MIT Press. Flanagan founded the Tiltfactor game research laboratory in 2003, where researchers study and make social games, urban games, and software in a rigorous theory/practice environment. She is the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor in Digital Humanities at Dartmouth College.