A ED 323 COMPUTER GAME AS ART PROJECT OVERVIEW: Conceptualize/imagine a game that would be accessed via the Internet and that you would like, based in your beliefs about human nature, knowledge, play, learning, education, visual culture, what is valuable, what is interesting, what is important. Create a space (virtual or real) that exposes taken-for-granted assumptions that are fitting for one aspect of your concept of a Web-based game. Informal presentation of interviews of game players due on April 5, presentation of game concept with at least one image of one of the imagined spaces on April 10, and final reflections due in your course e-portfolio on May 8 (15% of course grade).


A. INTERVIEW ASSIGNMENT for 4/5: Ask family, friends, or strangers throughout week if they play video or computer games. Record what games they play and why they play the games (or don't play them). Find out what the visuals suggest about race, skin color, ethnicity, gender, nationality, relationships, power, privilege, storyline, other . . . (please note that there is no class meeting on 3/29 allowing more time to work on the computer game project.)

B. READING ASSIGNMENT for 4/5: Keifer-Boyd, K. (1997). Re-presentations in Virtual Museums. Art and Academe: A Journal for the Humanities and Sciences in the Education of Artists, 9(2), 38-60 (electronic reserve), Matthew Barney at the art in the 21st century series, Free to Play and Be Gooey by Michael Kimmelman on Matthew Barney at the Guggenheim, Mel Chin - see Knowmad videogame (multimedia link), Bookchin, N. (2002 November/December). For the love of the game. Six artists. Three teams. One mission. Changing the face of play [pdf]. ArtByte, 1, 60-68, and peruse CyberHouse, especially the "about the house " section.

C. PRESENT A GAME CONCEPT ASSIGNMENT for 4/10: Conceptualize a computer game. Some things to consider in conceptualizing your computer game and to bring into your presentation of your game concept on April 10.

  1. Do you value the purpose, metaphors, values, and desires that make up your computer game? Look at your concept of a game with a semiotic lens. What is being signified? What are the signs that are pointing toward that signification? How does the play of your game act as signifier, that is, the means to give the signs certain range of meanings?
  2. What kind of knowledge is valued in your game?
  3. What is being learned from playing it?
  4. Who would enjoy your game?
  5. How are humans/gender/race/age defined or characterized (even by their absence) in your game?

To present your game concept create a space (virtual or real) that exposes taken-for-granted assumptions that are fitting for one aspect of your concept of a Web-based game. (See reading "Re-presentations in Virtual Museums" for strategies on how to expose taken-for-granted assumptions.) To prepare your presentation scan your design sketches and place them in a PowerPoint slide show and add bulleted text that highlights key features of your game. Elaborate in the presentation about your game idea and show us visually one of the spaces in the game. This can be a drawing, a painting, a digital image, a ceramic scene, a diorama, or full-scale stage set (photographed or created in the classroom). If you appropriate characters from popular culture (tv, Disney, etc.) do it in such a way to give them new meaning by exposing existing meanings within the context of your game.

D. E-PORTFOLIO REFLECTIONS on project for 5/8: For your end of the semester portfolio include your PowerPoint presentation of your game concept as well as your research notes from interviews shared in class verbally on 4/5 with a written reflection about your interview research findings, class readings for this project, thoughts about the content of Karen's presentation on 4/5, and class discussions on 4/5 & 4/10. Also respond to the 5 questions above in your e-process-folio reflection on this project, and argue convincingly whether or not you believe this is relevant art education for K-12 curricula.