Naomi Clark

Apprehending Play:
Systems That Shape Leisure

Friday, February 10, 2017


About the Lecture

Games have sometimes been described as the aesthetic form of systems, much as music might be considered the aesthetic form of sound. In a complex world full of natural and man-made systems, educators increasingly turn to games to help facilitate understanding. At the same time, games as designed objects are oftentimes narrowly perceived as serving one principal function: filling up and enhancing our leisure time to escape from productive concerns. Naomi Clark has been designing, writing, teaching, and thinking about games for more than twenty years and recently she's become interested in the tangled relationship between humans and our games. This interest has led her to ask: what kind of fantasies emerge from interaction with game systems, as distinct from marketing messages or authored stories, and what do these fantasies tell us about our culture? What would it mean to cultivate a more nuanced appreciation of games? Why do certain forms of play satisfy or glut? How do games engage and fill our sensory-cognitive faculties? What would happen if—as players or creators, or both—we sought to develop tastes that were less driven by satiating our needs and anxieties? Clark’s Senses series lecture dove deeply into these questions of play, taste, and fantasies.

About the Lecturer

Game designer and scholar Naomi Clark is Assistant Arts Professor at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Game Center. Clark began designing and producing games while working on early online games in the 1990s. As an editor for the online magazine Word, she co-designed one of the web's first multiplayer games, Sissyfight 2000. She then went on to produce software toys and online games for LEGO®. Clark has worked as a game designer, producer, and creative director at New York studios including Gamelab, Rebel Monkey, and Fresh Planet. Her writing about games can be found in collections such as Videogames For Humans (edited by Merritt Kopas) and in the co-authored textbook A Game Design Vocabulary. Clark’s 2014 cooperative card game Consentacle, which explores the complex issues of sex and consent, as well as her keynote address at the 2014 Queerness and Games Conference, are just two examples that highlight her ongoing contributions to critical discourse in the arts by challenging and discussing issues of gender, equality, and taste in the game industry. 


Additional research materials suggested by Naomi Clark can be found here.


The artist also participated in the following events with the RMCAD community.

Next Day Q+A Luncheon with Naomi Clark
Friday, February 10, 2017
Unfortunately, due to a winter storm in New York, Naomi's lecture had to be rescheduled for Friday, February 10th and this event had to be canceled.

Molding & Modding Systems with Rapid Game Prototyping
Workshop with Naomi Clark
Friday, February 10, 2017
Naomi Clark's workshop exposed participants to various methods of quick creation of original games out of systems we find all around us--in other games, in physical materials, and by observing the world. Students worked with non-digital materials to create game prototypes that could be used as the basis for video games, board/card games, or other forms of experience.