Alas, Are We Still Bad Players?
On Play and Agency in Contemporary Culture
fifth speaking matters event: wednesday 3/12/08 17:30 - 20:30
This round-table event taking place at the National College of Art and Design on the early evening of Wednesday December 3rd provides an opportunity to reflect on the question of play in contemporary culture.
Louise Hojer, art theorist and curator
Aphra Kerr, sociologist of digital culture
Jonathan Mosley, architect and artist
Neil Mulholland, art critic and curator
Chair: Tim Stott, NCAD Research Scholar at the Graduate School of Creative Arts & Media, Dublin
To book your place email: firstname.lastname@example.org
There is no charge for attendance, however, places are restricted to 40 approx.
Recent shifts in cultural practices from a critical to a ludic register are supported by long-held assumptions of the player as an exemplar of agency, flexibility, creativity and even, occasionally, of resistance. The proliferation of ludic and play rhetorics in other areas of society, such as ‘soft’ management, developmental learning, organisational competence development, and in the coupling of precarious labour with consumer hedonism, should, however, give us pause for thought. The aim of this roundtable is to examine familiar idealisations of the subject at play and to reassess the construction and the possibilities of this subject. It will be oriented initially by the following questions. As play spreads as a technology of the self across a variety of different fields and practices, how can the figure of the player lead us to rethink what we commonly understand to be criteria for the construction of subjectivity and the creation of value? Given the notorious ambiguity of play, how can we understand player-agency otherwise than according to those models engaged in the widespread putting-to-work of play? Can game situations occurring within the expanded space of art still claim the privileged status of test-site and laboratory? If so, upon what basis, and what might we yet learn from it? In particular, how can we learn to play better?
The roundtable will be informal, consisting of short papers by four speakers responding to the main theme. This will be followed by an extensive open discussion.