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P182


The order of games: inquiries into playing, organizing, and experimenting with technologies 
Convenors:
Katherine Buse (University of Chicago)
Ranjodh Dhaliwal (University of Notre Dame)
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Format:
Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

This panel puts STS work on infrastructure, organization, and data studies in conversation with scholarship on media, games, experimentation, and speculation to ask how order is generated and maintained in our technological world today, and how to organize with/against these existing organizations.

Long Abstract:

Digital technologies order our world today. Ordinary life is organized increasingly by systems with computers (quite literally ordinateur in French). From Amazon to Uber, things are put in their place via datafied registries of transactions, predictions, and traveling salesmen. But it is not just institutional frameworks that are in the business of ordering, be it as a command, as a practice, or ultimately as an epistemology. So too do our assemblages of play. To wit, what do sticks, shovels, carbon-based gemstones, and muscular organs have in common? Not much, unless you’re playing cards. Basic elements of play are often logics and orderings (rules and constraints) that travel and spread, teaching us to follow suit. Game studies has recently been outlining the possibilities offered by odd couplings, queer assemblages, and experimental setups generated by sociotechnical systems of play (Milburn, Ruberg, Jagoda). How might these possibilities correlate with the experimental possibilities of technoscience (Rheinberger)?

At different scales–as models, representations, or narratives–games (and the gamified worlds we live in) offer us sites of playing with/against orders. For example, if models in technoscience engage in useful reductions for fidelity and theorization, game models do so for play and pleasure (a point often missed by AI researchers teaching their systems through training on games). What then can studies of order and organization in STS learn from, or teach, registers of playfulness, which can sometimes be perverse, fantastical, mischievous, or chaotic? How can we, if at all, play with order? This open panel brings together scholars interested in questions of organization, infrastructure, technical media, video games, play, and experimentation to think about the many ways in which order is imposed upon worlds of play, and the affordances of play as we intervene into (organize towards?) the systems of ordering that increasingly dominate our technogenic worlds.

Accepted papers: