. Conversations at the Edge (CATE)

April 18 – Dawn Chan and Mary Flanagan: On Power and Play in Virtual Worlds

Posted by | Nicky Ni | Posted on | April 15, 2019

Dawn Chan and Mary Flanagan in person

Marina Zurkow, still from Mesocosm, 2015. Courtesy of the artist and the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation.

Critics Dawn Chan and Mary Flanagan, winners of the 2018 Thoma Foundation Arts Writing Awards in Digital Art, engage in a wide-ranging conversation about the social and political dynamics embedded in virtual reality, games, digital art, and software design. Considering the work of Rachel Rossin, Ramsey Nasser, Jenova Chen, Hyphen-Labs, Porpentine, Lucia Grossberger-Morales, and Marina Zurkow, among others, the two pose critical questions about the ways new technologies interact with constructions of race, class, the self, and the other. Chan’s writing focuses on the sociopolitical implications of digital art. Flanagan is the author of the landmark book Critical Play: Radical Game Design (2009), among many others.

1980–2018, various artists, multiple countries, multiple formats, ca 60 min followed by audience Q&A

Presented in partnership with the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation

Dawn Chan’s writing appears in The Atlantic (online), Bookforum, New York Times, NewYorker.com, New York Magazine, Paris Review, Village Voice, among other publications. She also frequently contributes to Artforum, where she was an editor from 2007 to 2018. Her work often focuses on the relationships between visual art, culture, identity, and technology. Currently a visiting scholar at New York University’s XE: Experimental Humanities & Social Engagement, Chan has lectured at venues including the Guggenheim Museum, the Rhode Island School of Design, and Maryland Institute College of Art. She is the recipient of a 2018 Creative Capital / Andy Warhol Foundation Arts Writers Grant.

Mary Flanagan is the author of the book Critical Play: Radical Game Design (2009), co-author of Values at Play in Digital Games (2014) and Similitudini. Simboli. Simulacri (2005), and co-editor of the collections Reload: Rethinking Women in Cyberculture (2003) and Re:Skin (2006). Her essays and articles have appeared in Art Against Art, Salon, USA Today, San Francisco Chronicle, and Huffington Post. She is working on a series of popular and art press essays that look at the productive paradox of art games. Flanagan is also the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor of Digital Humanities at Dartmouth College and leads the design research laboratory Tiltfactor.

The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation is a pioneering collection of digital art that encompasses artistic innovations in custom-coded and algorithmic software, Internet-connected and real-time animation, early computer drawing, interactive technology, video installation, electronic sculpture, and works that utilize LED and LCD displays. The foundation initiated the Arts Writing Awards in Digital Art in 2015. This annual award grants a $40,000 award for an established arts writer in the United States who has made significant contributions to writing about digital art and a $20,000 award for an emerging arts writer in the United States who demonstrates great promise in writing about digital art. The foundation is based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Chicago.