WRAPAROUND WORLDS: CONNECTIVITY AT THE MARGINS OF VIDEO-GAME SPACE

When 14 Mar 2019
12:00PM - 2:00PM
Where XE: Experimental Humanities & Social Engagement
14 University Place
New York, NY 10003-4589
United States

A talk by Dawn Chan, XE Visiting Scholar

Since the earliest coin-op arcades, video games have made frequent use of “wrap-around” spatial structures. Pac-Man inhabits one such classic wrap-around world, shimmying off stage left to unflappably re-emerge stage right. Much like his path, ananalogclock’s hands tick past 12 and return to 1. Wraparound worlds are connected to modular arithmetic and time zones. They are all mental constructs—human innovations that make use of a rupture, a reset, to represent what is otherwise infinite linearity. Progress, extreme enough, becomes sudden regress. From Asteroids to Civilization, video games have featured wraparound worlds that represent fertile conceptual terrain, providing possible answers to an intriguing question: how do these representations of space reflect our understandings of connectedness and conquest in aglobalized ,postcolonial world?

A critic and writer, Dawn Chan was a longtime editor at Artforum, where she also frequently contributes reviews. In addition, Chan’s writing has been published in the New York Times, Bookforum, New York Magazine, the Village Voice, and the online editions of The Atlantic and The New Yorker, among other publications. She has lectured at venues including RISD, MICA, and the Guggenheim Museum, and was the recipient of a 2018 Thoma Foundation Art Writing Award for Digital Art and a 2018 Warhol Arts Writers Grant.

Image courtesy of the organizer.

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