Ian Bogost // Ironoia: The Mistrust of Things
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
About the Lecture
There has been much talk of irony as an aesthetic penchant, an affectation of hipsters, and a failure to be earnest or true to oneself. But this critique of irony is hardly new—we’ve been hearing it incessantly for two decades – and it is not even really clear what irony is, anyway. A concept that is millennia old has slipped through many different meanings over time.
Combining his expertise in video games, philosophy, technology, and cultural critique, Ian Bogost presented a revised theory of irony that addresses the failure to earnestly encounter the outside world. From a perspective that orients objects at the center, Bogost asked and, at least in part, answered a series of questions:
How can we learn to live with things? How do we approach a world so replete, so overburdened with stuff that it is literally falling apart from the wear? How can we conceptualize ourselves as just another thing among so many others, rather than the masters of these servile objects? How can we value things for what they are, regardless of their role in our quotidian concerns, and how do we do so habitually, not just late one weird night? Finally, how do we do so without descending into the anguish of nihilism, without inevitably concluding that the universe is fundamentally indifferent?
About the Lecturer
Dr. Ian Bogost is an author and award-winning game designer. He is the Ivan Allen College Distinguished Chair in Media Studies and Professor of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Bogost is also founding partner at Persuasive Games LLC, an independent game studio, and a contributing editor at The Atlantic, where he writes regularly about technology and popular culture. He has published many books including Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames and Alien Phenomenology, or What it’s Like to Be a Thing, among others. In addition to his work as a writer, Bogost is also co-editor of Object Lessons, a book and essay series about the secret lives of ordinary things (Bloomsbury/The Atlantic), and of Platform Studies, a book series about the relationship between hardware/software design and creativity (MIT Press).
Bogost’s video games about social and political issues cover topics as varied as airport security, suburban errands, pandemic flu, and tort reform. His independent games include Cow Clicker, a Facebook game send-up of Facebook games that was the subject of a Wired magazine feature, and A Slow Year, a collection of video game poems for Atari VCS, Windows, and Mac, which won the Vanguard and Virtuoso awards at the 2010 IndieCade Festival.
Bogost is currently working on a forthcoming book about living playfully in an age of irony.
Additional Events with Ian Bogost
The RMCAD community joined the VASD Program and Ian Bogost on November 12, 2015 for a Next Day Q+A Session over lunch.
A group of current RMCAD students also had the opportunity to participate in a workshop with Ian called Make Atari Games.
Additional research materials suggested by Ian Bogost can be found here.