Unplayable games: time and digital culture

Barker, T. (2023) Unplayable games: time and digital culture. Kunsttexte, 2023(2),

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Publisher's URL: https://journals.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/index.php/kunsttexte/article/view/98876/93976


Contemporary digital culture seems to be characterised by an overwhelming invitation to perform, to act and to play. The time of the digital is often thought to produce a 24/7 world, always on, marked by quicker than lightning exchanges, always connected, always communicating. In this paper, I wish to probe more deeply into the time of digital culture and the larger questions of contemporaneity, by looking at a number of art games that seem to provide an alternative to mainstream digital culture. These games – special types of cultural objects that I refer to as ‘anti-games’ – resist interaction, provide obstacles to play and block the usual experiences attributed to more traditional video games. Using these games as starting points, in the paper I ask: what opportunities are there not to perform, not to act, to resist taking on the identity as a player in the time of the digital? And are there opportunities to try and occupy modes of temporality other than that which is characteristic of acceleration and progress? In short, using recent anti-games, I begin to explore the contemporary issues of temporality, history and memory, and start to offer new ways to critique the relationship between media technologies and time.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Barker, Professor Timothy
Authors: Barker, T.
Subjects:B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BH Aesthetics
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Culture and Creative Arts > Theatre Film and TV Studies
Journal Name:Kunsttexte
Publisher:Kunsttexte e. V.
ISSN (Online):1618-8101
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