Lectures and Panels

Focusing on the convergence of media art and games, a symposium provides the opportunity to present projects as well as to discuss and reflect upon games in the context of media theory. Lectures on the implications of games strengthen ties to the academic discourse, which can be started in the panels to diverse topics of current issues. Interdisciplinary participants bring together their respective fields and provide a valuable insight in South African and European mindsets.

Hosts of the A MAZE. Conference

1st Conference Day - 30. August 2012:
Playground City: Joseph Gaylard
2nd Conference Day - 31. August 2012:
Games: More than just fun: Hanli Geyser
3rd Conference Day - 01. September 2012:
Media art - Playing at the edge. Christo Doherty

Lecture: Coded Cultures

Coded Cultures is an multinational imitative of the group to discuss and reflect the intersections of media, art, society and technology in experimental settings of exhibitions, workshops, symposia, presentations and artistic interventions. Coded Cultures presents since 2004 a forum to discuss and present (new) media arts, digital communities and positions itself in the current international (media arts) discourse.

Speaker: Georg Russegger

Lecture: Computer Games as a Medium for Software Education

Computer games may be used as a medium for software visualisation to lessen the learning curve of introductory computer programming courses in a highly visual, interactive and rewarding way. if(traffic)else{win} is an educational computer game that teaches the concepts of programming logic, conditional statements and logical operators. The game has been tested on both university and school students through questionnaires and a quantitative metrics system. The research findings may form the basis for the development of games aimed at teaching novice computer programmers.

Speaker: Bradley Marques

Lecture: Go Procedural!

How To Create Lush Worlds With A Few Lines Of Code And Photoshop

This lecture shows how to use the scripting possibilities of modern game engines as an artistic tool. The goal is to teach even non-programmers (for example designers and artists) the necessary knowledge for creating procedural content. Many examples are given and the concepts are introduced step by step.

This talk is supported by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.

Speaker: Dario Hardmeier

Lecture: Making magic at the digital edge

James's talk will meander through some of the things that inspire him at the edges where he works, with a focus on the digital / physical edge. He'll be presenting a lateral take on the tools of the trade at that edge (including communications, computation, interfaces, energy sources etc...) and will sprinkle in some practical examples of the entertaining and magical things that have been delivered and conceived there.

Speaker: James Clayton

Lecture: Mistaken Identity

What goes into the creation a personalised videogame avatar? Why do we identify ourselves as particular characters within games and does this alter the fundamental experience of the game? In this lecturer Pippa Tshabalala explores the process of RPG character creation and discusses the impact this has on our perception of self within a game.

Speaker: Pippa Tshabalala

Lecture: New Babylon - Designed for player

From 1956 to 1970 the Dutch artist Constant Nieuwenhuys (Constant) worked on plans for an all-encompassing urban utopia called New Babylon. This city of the future was designed for homo ludens (“man the player”), a people of leisure and creativity, who would take over modern society once technology had made it possible for humans to stop working from day to day. Constant variously referred to New Babylon as “The Great Game To Come”, “an urban science fiction” and “Another City for Another Life”. This presentation will look at New Babylon as a prehistoric vision of contemporary digital gaming.

Speaker: Anthea Buys

Lecture: Renaissance of Space

We generally see a renaissance of the physical world as a reaction onto now nearly two decades of communication in the virtual world of the internet. We see an increasing number of people leaving the isolated situation in front of a computer at home, going into a museum and other narrative spaces to experience information in a physical environment together with other people. The big difference in designing these narrative spaces compared to the design approach in the pre-digital times is that the visitors are now computer literate and know about the qualities of the digital medium such as interaction, collaboration or networking and want to find them also in the physical space.

Speaker: Jussi Ängeslevä

LECTURE: Subject matters

A look at why it is important to consider the content of interactive displays and installations and what is being conveying to the audience. The impact and relevance of a new interaction will always be judged by what is left after the initial “wow” factor has worn off. Software has the multi-purpose potential of being utilitarian, entertaining or educational. The way the interaction is designed and what information is transferred leads the user to learn by doing or do by learning. In this lecture, we’ll look at some real life examples.

Speaker: Rahle Dusheiko

Lecture: Teen Talk – A youth multi-disciplinary dialogue on migration

Teen Talk is a youth forum in the format of a talk show, produced by members of Keleketla! Library’s After School Programme. It was supported by Medicins Sans Frontieres/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) as a school’s workshop component of the anti-xenophobia campaign, Solidarity for Survival. Keleketla! developed a series of workshops in the form of a fictional youth magazine show as a build-up to a multi-disciplinary march. The presentation will explore the role of arts and media tools in articulating independent voice and challenging mainstream representation of identities. Hlasane hopes to inspire critical dialogue on pedagogy, innovation and development through culture.

Speaker: Rangoato Hlasane

Lecture: Telekommunist and Dismalware

The age of electronic and networked communication has transformed
social behaviour, but has it really transformed the world? When we
look carefully at how things really work, the question of who decides
what gets made, what becomes law, what become the dominant
techno-social paradigms reveal themselves to be persistently issues of
class struggle. Fundamental to a world of infinite immaterial
creativity and techno-democracy, we live in a world of persistent
scarcity where extra-democratic power still holds sway. Dmytri
Kleiner and Baruch Gottlieb will discuss their latest concerns, ideas,
and artistic approaches for how we can come to understand our
contemporary condition and prospects in the age of networked utopias.

Speaker: Dmytri Kleiner/ Baruch Gottlieb

Lecture: The Magic Circle: Performativity in pervasive play.

The Gaming Society of Rhodes University hosted their second Humans vs Zombies ARG at the beginning of the year. Using this event as a case-study, my paper investigates the performativity of this ‘game-for-adults’ and looks at John Huizinga’s famous theory of Homo ludens – man the player. ‘Player’ is a term more readily bashed about in the 21st Century thanks to ubiquitous technology and video games being more prevalent in our daily lives. This label was also, however, given to performers from the earliest days of theatre, the likes of Shakespeare were aware: all men and women merely players. In will be discussing my paper on how Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) turn the world into a giant playground (Pearce et al, 2009: p278), which is a fun thought but modern perspectives on play are unfortunately still rather demeaning.

This research draws a comparison between Pervasive gaming as a collective event and as performance, in the hope that we might revise our thoughts towards playfulness and its usefulness.

Speaker: Tristan Jacobs

Lecture: The totally mathematically indisputable algorithm for guaranteed win

Evan Greenwood is sharing some of his observations about the industry and how it interacts as a game system, as well some advice on how to maximize for both commercial success and happiness. While he will try to make it entertaining, he will also provide a sober warning against entering the challenging task of developing games with the wrong expectations, methodology and goals.

Speaker: Evan Greenwood

Lecture: The visionary brusher game

By blending imaginative play types, an arts play-deck and supplemental texts a “ludic prolegomena” unravels itself. Swaying between ostranic art making and writing, cascades of conceptualizing in the to-and-fro of interactive, visionary play unveil a painterly meta-game with “brushing” as governing notion. Visionary brusher-chisellers are protean ludent-artists and “holy fools” touching base with a brusher-world of self-reflectivity and mediation. Brushers continuously shape themselves in generating creative strategies to challenge the liquidity of post-human societies.

Speaker: Janine Allen

Lecture: Things we need to just $%#@ing stop doing!

The lecture is going to address a series of issues that trip up game developers and hopeful designers in South Africa- Things that keep happening, year after year. They need to stop. If they don't, it will be impossible to build a healthy, stable, creative game ecosystem.

Speaker: Danny Day

Lecture: Urban Immateriality

The famous concept of André Malraux’s “musée imaginaire” is here being enrolled in the context of an immaterial digital culture. In his original vision, Malraux talked about the imaginary museum as a space where, due to the technological dematerialization of artworks, an art of all times and places emerged. The talk wants to ask what an imaginary urban space of this supposedly immaterial culture would look like today, what conditions of production underlie it and what creative uses and abuses it is engendering?

Speaker: Markus Huber