MA Michail Kouratoras will defend the thesis " Digital dramaturgy: interactive fiction video games as cyborg theatre of cruelty and ethical choice-making" on 11 March 2022 at 16:00 in Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Film, Television and Scenography.
Opponent: Prof. Michael Nitsche, Georgia Institute of Technology, United States
Custos: Prof. Susanna Helke, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Film, Television and Scenography
The public defense will be organized via remote technology. Follow defence:
Zoom Quick Guide: https://www.aalto.fi/en/services/zoom-quick-guide
Thesis available for public display at: https://aaltodoc.aalto.fi/doc_public/eonly/riiputus/
Doctoral theses in the School of Arts, Design and Architecture: https://aaltodoc.aalto.fi/handle/123456789/54
Interactive fiction video games (IF) have been indicated as a type of theatre by several game studies scholars. A decade ago, multimedia performance theorist Jennifer Parker-Starbuck (2011), introduced the idea of cyborg theatre to discuss the large involvement of technology in digital performance, integrating with the human body and forming a hybrid performing unity (a cyborg).
How do mainstream IF relate to theatrical performance and cyborg theatre? What theoretical underpinnings emerge to inform the techno-human interrelation in such a type of theatre? How does cruelty, as a very broad characteristic of the mainstream IF production, relate with drama-like gameplay performance? How does ethical choice-making gameplay, as it appears in contemporary IF, develop drama-like performance?
The present compilation of articles doctoral thesis, undertakes this investigation of cruelty-based, and ethical dilemmas-based IF as cyborg theatre, advancing Parker-Starbuck’s formulation for digital, bodies-with-technologies, hybridized performance. The focus is on 3D, avatar-based IF, as they produce a three dimensional, and functionally navigable, digital space for virtual theatre. The study applies postphenomenology to cognitively understand the techno-somatic performative interrelations between the gamer and the gaming technology, which create the cyborg and constitute the framework of cyborg theatre. Postphenomenological concepts emerge as basic theoretical underpinnings to inform the cyborgean formations. Theatre’s historical, and later neo-, avant-garde, support the investigation of theatrical interactionism, anti-mimesis, and the dramatic function of cruelty and ethical choice-making in IF gaming. This involves comparative studies of Artaud’s theatre of cruelty, Futurists’ theatre, and Sartre’s Existentialism with specific IF genres. The thesis’ aim, and its contribution to the interdisciplinary academic field between performance arts and video games, is to draw a theoretical framework for further artistic research in cyborg theatre via gaming technologies. This is suggested as a methodologically open research direction for theatrical experimentation in IF and VR gaming, with the incorporation of additional methodologies from performance arts, HCI, and cognitive sciences. The final objective is to promote and assist the creative exploration of digital dramaturgy and hence the development of new, hybrid, and interactive, dramatic compositions for cyborg theatre.
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