In line with Postcinema attention to media cultures around and beyond film, – including digital media, transmedia ecosystem, interactive technologies, posthumanism and participatory practices – this section will focus on the topic of “vulnerable media.” This conceptual framework wants to explore how currentì and emergent media technologies negotiate affects between users and digital interactive interfaces.
In the midst of a pandemic we turn to video games. We sometimes seek out fictional damaged worlds to reflect on the real one (The Last of Us, Plague Inc.). We play games that allow us to “zone out” or to restore order to disorder (Two Dots). And we turn to games as a way to commune with the people from which we have been physically cut off (Animal Crossing).
This talk considers the vulnerabilities and affective intensities of our mediated lives during COVID-19 in light of an argument in my book, Playing with Feelings: Video Games and Affect, that video games are the art form that best gives expression to our lives lived through computers. I will make a case for “play” as an affective and ethical relation to a damaged and imperfect world.
Aubrey Anable is a scholar of visual culture and Associate Professor of Film Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Her research examines digital media aesthetics, video games, and virtual reality through the lenses of feminist and queer theory. She is the author of Playing with Feelings: Video Games and Affect (University of Minnesota Press, 2018) which was awarded the 2019 “Best First Book” prize by the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. She is co-editor of the forthcoming collection A Concise Companion to Visual Culture (Wiley-Blackwell, 2021) and is an advisory editor for the journal Camera Obscura.