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№ 1 (34) 2019: Computer Games: Game Design of Culture

Guest Editors

pict Konstantin P. SHEVTCOV
Doctor of Science in Philosophy, Assistant Professor
Professor of the Philosophy and Social Communication Department at Saint Petersburg State University of Civil Aviation
Head of the Laboratory for Computer Games Research at the Centre for Media Philosophy, Saint Petersburg State University, Saint Petersburg, Russia
pict Alexandre S. LENKEVICH
Vice head of the Laboratory for Computer Games Research at the Centre for Media Philosophy, Saint Petersburg State University, Saint Petersburg, Russia

Computer games are a popular, emblematic and attractive phenomenon of media culture, which until recently was not taken seriously by academic science including philosophy and media theory. The famous classical works on (analogue) game analytics belong to J. Huizinga and R. Caillois written in the middle of the XX century. More or less systematic interest in computer game studies the scientists from Europe and the USA have been demonstrating from the middle of the 1990s – beginning of 2000s: analytical projects inside this new area generally follow established academic traditions of narratology, sociology, economics, game theory, etc. The discipline “game studies” has an “umbellate” character and unifies a variety of researches, that has the only common thing – the object of the research. 
In Russia the academic field, methods and appropriate analytical language necessary for studying with computer games is coming into being. In 2013 the first All-Russian scientific conference “Computer Games – Theatre of Activity” was entirely devoted to the philosophical comprehension of computer games. It was organized by the Centre for Media Philosophy and the Laboratory for Computer Games Research. After the conference, several analytical working in this direction appeared in St. Petersburg, Moscow and other cities.
Games are familiar for humanity from the ancient times. As Huizinga marks, not only humans are playing, the animals are playing as well. The game is flesh and blood of our culture. However, during the last half of the century – it is approximately the period of the computer game history if we consider W. Higinbotham’s Tennis for Two (1958) as a starting point, or we can move the border to the 1940s – 1950s, if we trace computer games back to the first chess algorithms of A. Turing and C. Shannon or to the relay-based machine Nimatron (1940) – serious changes in game itself has happened, what requires understanding and new concepts.
The emergence of the new medium – computer, which counts, automatizes and algorithmizes game milieu, bounds playing process with countability, logic of the mathematics procedures and operations, computing – leads to the mutation of the game itself, to the birth of the new hybrid media form – computer game – in which freedom of action is combined with rigid – mathematic – determination, desire design goes with programming code, imagination and body are converted to the technical format. And this process has been lasting till now, this is the hottest zone of media transformations.
It is no doubt that computer games nowadays set out certain vector of culture development, form a huge amount of various practices: cultural, political, economic, scientific, social, etc. We invite the researchers from different fields to join the careful investigation of computer game phenomenon.

Topics for reflection:

Computer games as media
• Games in terms of the contemporary media landscape: critique, ideology, conversion
• Computer games interfaces as a form of sensibility
• Non-standard gaming practices, mutations, and perversions of the game
• The problem of gamer’s corporeality
•Languages of computer games: formatting of perception, thought, imagination?
• From the perspective to a computer game: amediality and simulation
• In search of “aura”: glitch, procedural generation, permadeath
• Formation of non-conventional playing practices
• Computer game: from ludus to paidia
• Conversion of play, conversion of player
• Remediation procedures in computer games
• The collision of human and non-human in computer games
• Interfaces of game, interfaces of sensibility
• From sign to the body: the époque of computer games

Deadline is 31.01.2019


# 2 (35) 2019: The Borderline Codes of Culture

Guest Editor

 

pict Tatiana SIDNEVA
Doctor of Science in Cultural Studies, Professor
Vice-Rector for Research, Head of the Department of Philosophy and Aesthetics of the M. I. Glinka Nizhny Novgorod State Conservatory, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia

The concept of "cultural code", established in humanitarian knowledge largely due to R. Bart's research, has gained high popularity in recent decades. Various interpretations of the concept, descriptions of its semantic and structural aspects are given, a lot of classifications are offered. Associative series, fixing the relationship of the "code" with a symbol, metaphor, mentality and archetype, vocabulary, culture, etc. have been built. The term has long crossed the boundaries of semiology and received broad significance in Culturology. This tendency was predicted by R. Bart himself, his interpretation of the "code" denies the possibility of a strict definition of the concept. The scientist warns against the use of "code" in the strictly scientific meaning of the term. He understands codes as associative fields, a supertextural organization of values established in a certain culture. In Bart's understanding, codes are "certain types of things already seen, already read, already done".
The broad interpretation of the concept of "code" has been established in modern science as the key to understanding culture, the substantiation of geopolitical, mental, ethnic, linguistic, religious, aesthetic, etc. identification of local models of culture, the codified system of values and meanings.
In modern culture the demand for the term is due to a number of reasons:
1. Its integrative nature, reflecting the possibility of a holistic coverage of a certain type of culture, allowing to identify the unity of its internal laws, as well as to fix the conjugation and delimitation of different layers of culture.
2. Freedom from rigidity, “flexibility” of semantic structure and at the same time normativity and order, which together create a multiple images of cultural phenomena.
3. Combination of ideological and non-ideological forms of knowledge, verbalized and non-verbalized meanings.
Being firmly established in cultural studies (in the meaning of meta-methodology of humanitarian knowledge), the term "cultural code" requires clarification of its competences.
The study of borderline codes of culture that exist at the "crossings" and “transitions" of meanings, values, systems is of special methodological importance.
In the context of the interaction of different codes, it is proposed to pay special attention to the problem of a border of nature and culture, "own” and “alien”, traditions and innovations, national and metanational, processes of symbolization and desymbolization in culture.
The search of productivity in the solution of the presented questions causes identification of specifics of borderline cultural codes in science, art, philosophy, geopolitics, religion, daily life. The answer to the question if the boundary code is a special "mode of operation " of the code or the genesis of the new code can be one of the results of the collective research.
Of special interest is the study of texts addressing of the following aspects of the problem:

  • "Cultural code" in the modern conceptual manual of the Humanities
  • History, theory and methodology of interaction of culture codes
  • Definition of the code in its relation to a symbol, metaphor, mentality, archetype, dictionary of culture, etc.
  • Dialogue of nature and culture, "own" and "alien", traditions and innovations, national and metanational, local and global, processes of symbolization and desymbolization in the aspect of interaction of cultural codes
  • Border, borderlands, borderline thinking in the structure of cultural codes
  • “Borderline codes" in art, philosophy, geopolitics, religion, history, everyday life
  • • Reflection of cultural codes in the actual practice of art.

Deadline is 15.04.2019

 

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