New interfaces/Tereza Fousek Krobová: From playing gender to playing with gender

You are cordially invited to the lecture by a game theorist Tereza Fousek Krobová. The lecture will be held in Czech language.

MEDIUM Gallery, Hviezdoslavovo námestie 18, Bratislava

Where does the boundary of the virtual end and the reality begin? And can anything like that be found at all? This lecture explores the boundaries between "real" social reality and the virtual space of computer games. In order to examine what they can give us in the context of the identity and its permeability of the game, it primarily examines the relationship between the players and the avatar, ie the character they control in the game. Why did they choose it? How does it feel when playing this particular human or creature? And what relationship do they have with it?

The relationship with the avatar reveals the constructed nature of our identities, such as gender. Thus, it can be argued that playing is in principle a queer activity. Using classical concepts of gender studies such as gender performativity (Butler) or doing gender (West and Zimmerman), this lecture will show the disruptive potential of playing computer games, even when this "political playing" is not the intention or is not in any way subversive. game. In building a relationship with an avatar (and most commonly, of course, it is an identification relationship), the player consciously but also unconsciously "plays gender" in the same way as he performs in social reality. This means that in addition to running, shooting or solving puzzles, he also "plays" men and women. In this sense, games could be seen as a "tutorial" on how to behave in society - the rules are not written by artificial intelligence, but by game and developers from flesh and blood. However, the basic argument does not end at this stage - it is not just about the reconstruction and confirmation of real or ideal gender identities, but above all about their deconstruction - ie "playing with gender". All the more so because it's "just a game" in which it's primarily a matter of having fun and playing.

This basic premise of a new understanding of virtual and playfulness will be illustrated by several examples and own studies of LGBT strategies of the players, who are primarily affected by these experiments, but also by all others for whom these experiments are also open. The aim is to show playing games as a unique experience, which may be framed by a basic and often homogeneous text, but is significantly complex, heterogeneous and subversive. The discursive shift from "gender playing" to "playing with gender" thus leads to the understanding of any game as a potential virtual arena open to the deconstruction and negotiation of seemingly stable gender identities and identifications.

Tereza Fousek Krobová is a game theorist and pedagogue. In her scientific work, she focuses mainly on various gender aspects of game culture, mainly the audiences and the strategies they choose when choosing and playing computer characters. She is also a member of the team at the Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles University, which researches specific aspects of the Czech gaming industry. She teaches at NYU (Game Studies), MUP (subjects in the field of media studies, gender studies and game studies) and also at FAMU (study field of Game Design). In addition to her scientific work, she also works as a dramaturg of Czech Television (children's program about computer games DVA3).

The lecture is a part of the New Interfaces series, which is dramaturgically covered by the head of the MEDIUM Gallery, Miroslava Urbanová. The New Interfaces are a series of interdisciplinary lectures led by experts in various fields - literature, psychology, social sciences, aesthetics and game theory and art. They deal with topics that resonate in the work of the youngest artists working within the post-media environment. The cycle will focus primarily on topics related to our cognitive conditions in the interfaces of constantly evolving technologies and in contrast to the desire for authentic, visceral experience escaping out here-and-now. These themes appear in art with increasing urgency, both in the overproduction of performative works or works thematizing these new interfaces. The lectures also reflect the themes that appear in the dramaturgy of the exhibition plan of the MEDIUM gallery and its reading club for students What´s the Point?

Supported using public funding by Slovak Arts Council.