CFP: UNDERSTANDING MACHINIMA: essays on filmmaking in virtual worlds

UNDERSTANDING MACHINIMA: essays on filmmaking in virtual worlds

Call for Papers

Deadline: 30 August 2010

Submissions are invited for an edited book with the working title
Understanding Machinima: essays on filmmaking in virtual worlds. Machinima
– referring to “filmmaking within a real-time, 3D virtual environment,
often using 3D video-game technologies” as well as works which use this
animation technique, including videos recorded in computer games or
virtual worlds (see also http://www.youtube.com/user/machinima) – is
challenging the notion of the moving image in numerous media contexts,
such as video games, animation, digital cinema and virtual worlds.


Machinima’s increasingly dynamic use and construction of images from
virtual worlds – appropriated, imported, worked over, re‑negotiated,
re-configured, re‑composed – not only confronts the conception and
ontology of the recorded moving image, but also blurs the boundaries
between contemporary media forms, definitions and aesthetics, converging
filmmaking, animation, virtual world and game development. Even as it
poses these theoretical challenges, machinima is expanding as a practice
via internet networks and fan-based communities as well as in pedagogical
and marketing contexts. In these ways, machinima is also transformative,
presenting alternative ways and modes of teaching and commercial
promotion, in-game events and, perhaps most significantly, networking
cultures and community-building within game, virtual and filmmaking
worlds, among others.

Divided into these two sections – machinima (i) in theoretical analysis;
and (ii) as practice – this first collection of essays seeks to explore
how we can understand machinima in terms of the theoretical challenges it
poses as well as its manifestations as a practice. We are primarily
concerned with offering critical discussions of its history, theory,
aesthetics, media form and social implications, as well as insights into
its development and the promise of what it can become. How does machinima
fit in the spectrum of media forms? What are the ontological differences
between images from machinima and photochemical/digital filmmaking? How
does machinima co-opt the affordances of the game engine to provide
narrative? How may machinima, developed from the products of game and
virtual world marketing, be used as an artistic tool? How is machinima
self-reflexive, if at all, of the virtual environments from which they
arise? What are the implications of re-deploying these media formats into
alternative media forms? How does the open-source economy that currently
defines much of global machinima relate it to broader cultural production
generally?

In particular, we are looking for essays that address (but not limited to)
the following ideas:

*
History: context; definitions; culture; relationships to gaming and play;
development of technology; hardware and games; archiving of play;

* Theory: image; ontology; time; space; narrative; realism; spectatorship;
subjectivity; virtual camera; materiality;

*
Aesthetics: poetics; play; visuality; détournement; remix; digital
mashup; appropriation; recombinative narratives; audio and visual theory;
spatiality; narrative architecture;

*
Contemporary media contexts: comparative media; machinima vis-à-vis video
games, (digital) cinema, animation, virtual worlds; the visual economy of
machinima versus film

*
Communities: Machinima as community-based practice and performance; user
created content; online publishing; fan (fiction) communities; open source;
cultural reflection

*
Pedagogy: digital literacy; teaching models and practices; student-centered
learning; critical making; collaborative authorship; rhetorics; problem
based learning;

*
Marketing: crowd sourcing; viral marketing; peer to peer sharing;
commercials, trailer promotions; grass roots versus astro turf; serials
and sequels.

Please submit a 300 word abstract and a short bio via e-mail to
understandingmachinima@gmail.com by 30 August 2010. We expect that final
essays should not exceed 7,000 words and be due on 30 December 2010.

Jenna P-S.
Ng
James
Barrett
HUMlab,
Umeå University
Sweden

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