The Game Arts International Assembly is a stretched symposium for game art curators and game community organizers.
9 sessions spread over two months. Free to one and all. And starting next week!
We’re really excited that this year reflects the international scope of game arts: 35 people from 21 countries across all the continents except one. (We’re not bitter, Antarctica: next year.) We’ve culled topics that we hope will be entry points for people curious about getting into the field and for those who have been contributing for years.
We know how hard it is, heading into a second year of a pandemic, so we’ve worked on making these things fun, and inspiring, and ultimately a way to connect with some of the most interesting, most playful people in the cultural sector: game arts folk
Researcher & Curator
Emilie Reed is a recent PhD graduate researching the history of displaying
videogames in museums and other arts contexts. Emilie has curated
exhibitions with Babycastles, and the Now Play This festival, and facilitated
workshop activities through the website Critical Distance. Emilie is interested
in highlighting overlooked elements of the history and artistic practice behind
videogames, and developing more experimental approaches to game
All activities are free and will be taking place in diverse online hangouts tools
THE NEW SPACEMAKERS
Sunday March 21 1-3pm EST
Let’s go on a trip around the internet! Join us as we visit online spaces and get tours from their creators. Are you looking for ways to connect with your community online? Curious about building your own space or learning about the spaces that are out there? Featuring Emilie Reed from Zone & Low Tech Webring (UK), Xin Xin from Togethernet (USA), Andy Baio from Skittish (USA), Em Lazer-Walker from Roguelike Celebration (Canada), and Niall Moody from Biome Collective (UK). Join us after the tour for a hands-on workshop on building online spaces!
GAME ARTS CURATORS KIT
Friday March 26 6-8pm EST
René G. Cepeda (Mexico) and Chaz Evans (USA) will be leading this session with the aim to complete a collectively authored videogames curation kit. The document will serve as a statement of purpose and consultation for curators, producers and institutions that are either working with videogames or want to get into the field. We will use this session to discuss the progress that has been made and involve new GAIA attendees to participate in this group project. We will be working together throughout eight weeks writing and editing a general guide informed by the challenges experienced by videogame curators over the last decade.
SHOW THEM THE MONEY
Saturday April 3 (10am-12pm EDT)
Funding can be a curatorial act: game commissions can encourage the creation of games that wouldn’t be made otherwise, help creators who wish to experiment with the medium, and introduce curatorial agendas as part of the game development process itself. Featuring Shalev Moran (Israel/Denmark), who will review examples of commissions and funding in games and in other art fields; Sagan Yee (Canada), who will share their experience commissioning work with the Hand Eye Society; and Dhruv Jani (India), who will describe his experience working on several game commissions through his Studio Oleomingus. The session will include an interactive workshop, where participants will create an outline for a games commission project.
PLAY SAFE: GAME ARTS DURING A PLAGUE
Saturday April 10 (10am-12pm EDT)
Luca Carrubba (Spain/Italy) is in the process of curating an exhibition during the pandemic. How do you showcase interactive work that’s meant to be touched in a time when this can spread contagion? Game organizers and creators Chad Toprak and Helen Kwok (Australia) will be sharing their learnings after having designed multiple socially distanced games. Then we will be inviting all attendees to share their biggest challenges, related or unrelated to COVID. Hosted by Heather Kelley (USA).
NOW YOU’RE PLAYING WITH POWER: OUTLAW AND ACTIVIST GAME CURATION
Saturday April 17 (9-11am EDT)
What’s it like to curate or do research in a country where videogames are considered dangerous activism? What are the challenges and risks? What is there to be gained? How can videogames be used to confront external power? Or to generate awareness about sensitive subjects? Lesly Fonseca Tundidor (Cuba) and Allison Jing Yang (China) will be sharing their challenges as curators dealing with their respective governments, Nestor Siré (Cuba) and Steffen Köhn (Germany) will take the audience into the outlaw heart of Havana’s SNET, whilst Simona Maiorano (Italy) will talk about her experience creating an antifa games and art event in Bari, Italy. After this we will invite the audience to work together and come out with possible curation ideas for a set of challenging and disruptive games and situations provided by the speakers.
HAND-MADE GAME SCENES
Sunday May 2 (10am-12pm EDT)
Curious about game scenes outside your own country? Meet people growing thriving ecosystems, building communities, and teaching game-makers in Jamaica, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, and Africa. At the heart of every scene is a group of people working hard to make it happen. Featuring Sithe Ncube of Prosearium (Zambia/South Africa), Jazmin Giolito from Rosario Game Devs (Argentina), Glen Henry from Jamaica Game Developers Society (Jamaica), Yadu Rajiv from Gamedev (India)and Ghada Almoqbel from GCon (Saudi Arabia). Followed by a hands-on zine-making session where we’ll share our knowledge, tips and scene-building secrets with each other. Join us and be part of the discussion, as we stitch together knowledge from around the world.
Sunday May 9 (10am-12pm EDT)
The old ways are broken. What kind of game scenes could we dream up in the future? What kind of game communities would make us feel cherished and supported? A discussion about daydreams, experiments, and better futures. Followed by collaborative breakout sessions with Honey Rosenbloom (USA) where we will co-daydream some futures that we might actually want to live in. Featuring Lateef Martin from Game&Colour (Canada), Jess Marcotte & Squinky from QGCon (Canada), Bethlehem Anteneh and Dagmawi Bedilu from Enter Africa (Ethiopia). Come help us imagine a better future?
Saturday May 15 (10am-12pm EDT)
How do we combat the dominance of the English language in our arts practice? How do we support game arts intermediaries working with and in other languages? We will hear from Adam Ardisasmita from Asosiasi Game Indonesia, Caro Panero from Gameloc Gathering (Argentina), Pablo Quarta from Matajuegos (Argentina), and Rami Ismail from gamedev.world (Netherlands), about how their projects attempt to address this huge issue.
ART OF THE INTERFACE
Thursday May 20th (12-2pm EDT)
Curators working with mainstream art institutions give post-mortems on the things they learned smuggling games into high art spaces. How can an art historian end up curating videogames within a traditional art institution? How can a new media art focused institute authentically present videogames? What is it like to work on international touring projects? This session will have three stages: first Stephan Schwingeler from ZKM (Germany), Saisha Grayson from the Smithsonian (USA), and Aden Solway ex-AGO (Canada) will present three micro-talks. Then there will be a discussion panel moderated by Matteo Bittanti and finally an interactive pitch session with the audience.
Join us! You can indicate your interest in the sessions below and we’ll email you a calendar invite a week prior to remind you and specify the time for your time zone. You need to register to participate.
All sessions will be conducted in English. We’re curious and interested in working on ways to make GAIA better for people speaking different languages around the world. If you are passionate about making GAIA more linguistically or geographically inclusive, please reach out. Your input is very welcome.
Is a Canadian science fiction author, who publishes his works independently under the imprint No Media Kings, a venue for publishing and promoting his own works independently, and a guide to self-publishing for other prospective writers. Munroe was the founder of Perpetual Motion Roadshow, a North American indie touring circuit that sent 100 writers, performers and musicians on the road between 2003 and 2007. Jim Munroe is a “pop culture provocateur” according to the Austin Chronicle. His graphic novels and prose novels have been praised by Pulitzer-winner Junot Diaz and comics legend Neil Gaiman, and his lo-fi sci-fi feature films by Wired and the Guardian. His political videogames have appeared at Sundance and Cannes, and he co-founded the world’s first videogame arts organization. He was an Art Gallery of Ontario Artist-in-Residence in 2014 and he lives in the Junction neighbourhood in Toronto.
CODE OF CONDUCT
The Code of Conduct makes space for us to deeply consider and share our goals and be open and clear about how we want to behave, as a community, so it’s not hidden or secret. Our goal is to make GAIA a space where many different people can come together to share and learn from each other.
You can read GAIA´s CoC here
Thanks to our session partners the Canadian Embassy, the Goethe-Institut and the Instito Italiano Di Cultura in Buenos Aires. Also special thanks to our symposium partner the Ontario Arts Council