Invited by Dr. Alberto Guevara, the editor-in-chief of inTension journal of York University, virtual reality project Land of Illusion by Lily & Honglei Art Studio (currently with three active members, Xiying Yang, Honglei Li and He Li) will be published in the next issue of this academic journal.
Issues of the journal are theme-based, but space is provided in each issue for articles, reviews, and artwork that engage the core interests of InTensions: the theatricality of power, corporealities of structural violence, and sensory regimes.
Issue 7 ‘Fun and Games – Playing to the Limit’
Dr. David Harris Smith, McMaster University
Dr. Elysée Nouvet, McMaster University
To play is human. Play is a social act of often unclear boundaries. The delineation of playing as a special conditional form of doing or acting in the world relies upon registers of seriousness, authenticity, consequence and import, yet these registers are ultimately ambiguous. Play can materialize and relativize banal affective and social relations. Play can imagine, insist on the possibility of, or suppress, difference. Play may provoke shock or distraction, conceal or reveal intention. Play may be encouraged or denied, rewarded or punished, feared, disdained, addictive, fatal.
What becomes possible as a result of play in specific contexts? What socio-cultural relations are inscribed in the various sites of play? Are there limits to the social power of play, or limits to the social contexts in which playful acts may be asserted? Or is the very delineation of some actions as play itself a limit on imagination and transformation? To what extent do the connotative associations of theatre, sport, or childhood constitute a limit on what is considered play? What is the role of play in science, industry, politics, or war? What associations are can be traced between play and inductive, exploratory, or experimental knowledge generation?
Developmental theories situate play in the process of accommodating to reality, whereby the child first assimilates difficult and incongruous aspects of reality by revisiting them with familiar schema. For Baudrillard, the reproduction of the ‘real’ risks eclipsing its truth-value. These positions inscribe a vast territory populated by varying admixtures of representation and awe. Is play necessarily reactionary if it is absorbed into the normative and normalizing practices of (re)production and consumption (Debord)? When are play and playfulness critical distractions to organized protest? Alternatively, how might simulation and virtual worlds unleash important re-imaginings and re-mappings of the social (Deleuze)? What are the unique potentialities of play when engaged as formative, preliminary, inconsequential, non-serious, speculative, or exploratory?
In this issue, we invite scholarly/artistic contributions that engage the relations between play, power, and social reproduction. We welcome theoretical explorations, as well as reflections, experiments, reports, or ethnographies on play and playfulness in its lived, historical, and cultural contexts.
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