858 Chapters
Medium 9780253017154

2. Chris Melissinos: Art and Video Games

David S. Heineman Indiana University Press ePub

IN HIS YEARS AT SUN MICROSYSTEMS, CHRIS MELISSINOSS official title was, in part, that of an “evangelist,” a role associated with street preaching, door knocking, dogmatism, and conversion. Those who hired him for the position of “chief evangelist and chief gaming officer” were no doubt themselves initially taken aback by his infectious enthusiasm for technology and, specifically, for video games. Talking about his time at Sun some years later, in an interview addressing the opening of the exhibition The Art of Video Games that he curated for the Smithsonian Art Museum, Melissinos reflected on having the opportunity to express his hope for technology’s future while at a Java Developers conference in 2009. “I made the point that technology is wonderful, and it gives us the opportunity to do many things, however none of it matters if we don’t find the humanity in it” (Bednarz).

If The Art of Video Games attempted to argue one thing, it is that a productive route to finding the humanity in technology is to approach that technology as an art form. Melissinos’s exhibit made a strong case that video games in particular might be understood as the work of artists who skillfully write beautiful code on the constrained canvas of a particular platform, who design experiences that provoke complex thoughts and actions from their audiences, or who merge existing art forms (music, illustration, acting, and more) into a novel expression of humanity.

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Medium 9780253008343

7 Marriages: Mississippi Mermaid (1969), Bed and Board (1970)

Gillain, Anne Indiana University Press ePub

AT THE TIME WHEN BED AND BOARD WAS RELEASED, TRUFFAUT made the following observation:

I class myself among the group of directors for whom cinema is an extension of youth, who, just like children who have been sent to play in a corner and remake the world with toys, continue to play as adults by making films. This is what I call “cinema from the room at the back,” involving a refusal to accept life as it is, or the world in its real state and, in reaction, an acceptance of the need to re-create something that has a bit of the quality of fairy stories about it, rather like the American cinema that made us dream when we were young.1

This declaration, while it applies to all his works, reflects more than anything else the degree to which Truffaut remained distanced from his own times during the years following May 1968. Mississippi Mermaid and Bed and Board are both characterized by unreality. Removed from ideological commitments, Truffaut cultivated the style of the masters. In the first of these movies, he adopts the formula of a melodrama that combines the influences of Renoir and Hitchcock, and in the second one, those of Lubitsch’s comedies seasoned with a dash of Guitry. Being the works of a cinephile that were aimed at a mass audience, these films were not very successful when they were released. Nevertheless, their experimental nature does not mean that they are devoid of emotion. The sincerity of the representation of love in Mississippi Mermaid, and a degree of awkwardness in the handling of certain aspects of its structure, turn it into what one could describe as “a little sick film” that appeals to those who love Truffaut’s works. The power of the film derives from its melodic line, from the continuity of its interior vision, which follows the course of a metaphorical journey that is not spatially interrupted. In contrast, Bed and Board, a static film that centers on an apartment building, exploits discontinuity. Gags, improvisation, and wordplay are uppermost in a story in which the scene forms the narrative unit. Although one is a film-river and the other is a film-mosaic, these two works both have as their subject the early stages of the life of a married couple, describing the pitfalls that threaten its precarious harmony. Both end on a note that is full of ambiguity. But their deep subject remains the eternal dialectic between solitude and intimacy, which is at the very heart of the experience of the spectator who is watching cinema.

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8. Edward Castronova: Games, Economics, and Policies

David S. Heineman Indiana University Press ePub

EDWARD CASTRONOVA BEGINS HIS BOOK EXODUS TO THE Virtual World with a discussion of Star Trek’s holodeck that, at first glance, seems very similar to Eugene Jarvis’s discussion of that fictional technology in chapter 3 of this book. Castronova explains that it is a “perfect simulation room” that “allows users to enter into a deeply accurate simulation of any environment, from the Wild West to the surface of Pluto” (3). He begins that book with a discussion of the holodeck because, like Jarvis, he sees in it a model for where games might go and what they might do to and for the people who play them. Castronova’s perspective, however, offers a kind of cautionary reply to Jarvis’s enthusiasm. If the holodeck was ubiquitous, he offers, “no starship would do anything at all” (3). Instead, there would be a dramatic shift in what people did with their time, where they did these things, and what the value of that time was considered to be. Simulation, in the form of games, would introduce dramatic social change.

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Medium 9780861966608

Chapter 4 Cyberspace, Globalization and US Empire

NoContributor John Libbey Publishing ePub

In this chapter, I argue that the framework of media imperialism is appropriate for the study of US dominance of information and communication technology (ICT) industries in the period 1975–2000. Early media imperialism theories focused on US television exports at a time when such exports were set to decline in many local markets. Covert influences such as ownership, business models, professional values, content formatting, audience preferences, cultural hybrids and technologies, were insufficiently considered. In particular, the earlier focus on television and content may have distracted attention from the emergence of microprocessor-based computer networking technologies, their significance for the development of ICT industries, and the profound influence these have exerted on US economic and foreign policies from the 1970s. This chapter evaluates the significance of ICT for US responses to challenges to its superpower status from the 1970s. It documents the continuing dominance of US corporate power, of US-based transnational corporations (TNCs) and, among them, of ICT industries, within the global economy. It charts US dominance of most spheres of computing and telecommunications at the turn of the 21st century. With specific reference to intelligence estimates of future global trends it assesses the significance of the “Asian challenge”, specifically the challenge of Asian ICT activity to the prospects of a continuation of US hegemony.

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Medium 9780253012470

1 Charles Parsloe’s Chinese Fetish

Sean Metzger Indiana University Press ePub

IN THE NINETEENTH AND EARLY TWENTIETH CENTURIES, THE ABSENCE of Asian bodies on U.S. stages resulted in actors developing what Josephine Lee calls “a complex set of codes for the presentation of the Oriental Other” that borrowed from the lexicon of Asian stereotypes.1 I group such codes—conventional associations of signs and meanings that purportedly convey Asianness—under the term “yellowface performance.” Over the decades, actors in yellowface have often stirred controversy; indeed, Anna May Wong’s complaints about Luise Rainer in the film The Good Earth (Sidney Franklin, 1937) led in part to Wong’s attempts to shift the representations of Chinese figures on the silver screen. But the relative obscurity of nineteenth-century yellowface performers impedes the contextualization of such disputes.2 The career of the white actor Charles Parsloe during the 1870s provides the most comprehensive case study available with which to examine early yellowface practice. The popularity of his embodiment of the “Chinaman” (a term indicating a theatrical construction that I invoke as a counterpoint to the lived experience of Chinese men) both depends on and informs hegemonic constructions of Chineseness. Parsloe’s performance practice constitutes a kind of ventriloquism, in which he animates the Chinaman and specifically his queue as a fetish that substitutes for and conceals the dominant anxieties about Chinese immigrants among the white majority in the United States during the late 1800s. The histories and genres through and to which Parsloe’s hairpiece generates meaning code the object as the dominant feature of the skein of race in late-nineteenth-century melodrama. The queue becomes the material apparatus of racialization through its deployment in frontier narratives.

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