Futures of Digital Studies Conference: ARGs and Futures of Textuality

01 Mar

Today is Monday, and I’ve just returned from a weekend in Florida where I participated in Futures of Digital Studies, the 5th Annual Digital Assembly Conference. This was a great weekend, not only because I got to be back in Gainesville, but because the conference itself was of exceptional quality, thanks to there being lots of smart people in attendance, and thanks to some hard work from the organizers, Mauro Carassai, Patrick Lemieux, Stephanie Boluk, Elise Takehana, and many others. I know how hard it can be to run a conference like this, on the kind of budget the Digital Assembly works with. (I was an organizer for the first two DA conferences, back when we were the Game Studies Group.)

I definitely detected some themes emerging throughout the various panels, but I’m still trying to decide what it all means. I’m working on a report for Gameology, wherein I’ll try to sum it all up.

My own contribution was moderately successful, I hope, though some errors on my part really prevented the paper from going over as well as I think it might have. First, I was exhausted from driving in late the previous night. Second, my slides didn’t work. Actually, they did work, but they didn’t display right because I forgot I needed to switch off mirroring for external monitors. Slightly flustered, I plowed ahead slideless, which meant I was without visual for some of my more complex points, graphic examples, and structuring cues.

As a result of all this, I failed to engage my audience from the outset, and I could see I was losing more and more of them as I went on.

Nevertheless, I did plow on, and ultimately, I’m still pretty happy with the paper itself.

You can read it here.

It’s still sloppy, intellectually speaking, but I’m flailing about in some deeper waters than I have recently and I’m enjoying the struggle, so to speak.

Basically, what I’m going for here is to try and theorize ARGs, and I’m proceeding by asking what it would mean to undertake a Platform Studies approach to an ARG. The problem of the ARG archive is emblematic of this approach. As I found, taking this question seriously leads me through some interesting and familiar hoops.

Anyway, it’s linked above if you want to read it. I’d really welcome comments since I’m right at the beginning of what I hope is a research project that I can work on for some time. It’s really my first post-dissertation scholarship, so that alone is pretty refreshing.