Universiteit Leiden

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Research project


How can video games be used as feminist tactical media to expose the root of exclusions (based on sex, gender, class, race, ability, etc.) pervasive to gaming communities?

2021 - 2025
Lídia Pereira Malho Rodrigues

Through the development of collective ludic experiments and play sessions, game prototypes, and work-shops, “Storming the Gamergate” proposes to explore the potential of video games as a tactical artistic medium. Using a materialist feminist lens, the investigation will attempt to read the reproduction of ideo-logies of sexual difference in relation to dominant modes of production.

Historically, the multibillion-dollar video game industry has primarily catered to a straight, white male au-dience. This was most clearly demonstrated by the Gamergate events of 2014. Several accounts of how these events foreshadowed the tactics accompanying the rise to prominence of the alt-right and how Gamergate communities overlap and merge with this larger, pre-existing movement, reveal the urgency in researching and understanding video game cultures and subcultures.

Authors such as Vicky Osterweil, Nick Dyer-Witheford, and Greg dePeuter have stressed the role of video games as a reproductive technology, one which trains subjects in ways that subscribe to dominant neoliberal values. Nonetheless, the capacity of video games for engagement has been equally explored for its emancipatory potential. This research project argues that the unique capacity of video games to engage emotionally and provide immersive experiences of alternative realities can be used as a tool to reveal and question capitalist ideology. As such, it considers video games an especially persuasive medium for artis-tic expression.

Rooted in the historical relationship of art and play forwarded by movements such as Dada, Fluxus, and Situationism, "Storming the Gamergate" navigates the fields of artgames and Game Art in order to ex-pand, hijack, abuse, and experiment with mainstream video gaming canon.

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