Title

Video Games: The Path to Positive Collective Engagement

Document Type

Video File

Publication Date

3-24-2022

Abstract

Games, dev-jams, streams, and the culture surrounding them allow people to connect through formative and compelling shared experiences. In fact, over the past two years of unprecedented isolation, video games and the gaming community have helped millions around the world to stave off loneliness and improve their mental health through collaboration, cooperation, and competition. Of course, facilitating dialogue, the exchange of ideas, and interpersonal relationships despite great distances or obstacles, has been an integral aspect of gaming culture since its inception; yet only recently has there been greater widespread recognition that computationally mediated collective engagement can be as transformative and embodied as the purely physical. In this talk, Clark University professors and Higgins Faculty Fellows Amanda Theinert and Terrasa Ulm will explore how these connections continue to shape and support gamers around the world.

About the Speakers

Amanda Theinert, MFA is an Interactive Media Artist and Game Designer who has worked in the fields of digital art and higher education for 12 years. Theinert teaches in the areas of game design and development, the psychology of games, traditional and digital art, as well as production and team management. Her research interests center around how interactive experiences bring individuals and groups together for collective engagement and how emergent behavior facilitated from this engagement can alter the experience itself. Her artwork focuses on creating interactive installations and games that investigate new ways of combining digital and physical media blurring the lines between the tangible and virtual. Theinert is currently the MFA Program Director and an Assistant Teaching Professor at Clark University. She holds a BA in Interactive Media from Becker College and an MFA in Computer Art from the School of Visual Arts.

Terrasa Ulm, MFA is Interactive Media Program Director and Professor of Practice for the Becker School of Technology at Clark University. They have been an emergent media artist, game developer, and professor of interactive media for over 15 years. Their work and practice focus on games for change, the impact of artificial intelligence on new media, and XR development. They have developed a number of game titles, working as both designer and software developer, in the ‘serious’ and experimental games space for pc, mobile, and virtual reality. Their most recent personal art centers on interactive, fictive, live-action installations and intimate AI avatar moments. As a computer science major at Smith College, Ulm began developing their first electronic experiences and upon completing graduate studies in interactive programming at Parsons, the New School, helped launch one of the first undergraduate degrees in game development. Ulm received their MFA from Lesley University and maintains a studio at a local makerspace [and in the cloud], believing that practice and purpose intersect at the community level.

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