Thursday, April 8, 2010

Barthes Deconstruction vs. Galloway's Grammar of Countergaming

Friday, 11 AM

I suppose the main theme throughout all of my blog posts- as in other students' posts- is the discussion of what most speaks to us. This post is no different. To say that my favorite reading from the week was Galloways would be a blatant lie (that distinction goes to Soderman), however, this reading is what stood out to me, because it resonated with previous readings we've done including Barthes and screenings/labs we've done including Timecode and The Matrix.
What struck me in this essay was Galloway's ideas on the Grammar of countergaming, he says:

"Hollywood almost universally removes he apparatus from the image, while art or the avant-garde filmmaking is often unafraid to include it in any number of visual experiments. In gaming, this same division is evident: mainstream games almost never reveal the guts of the apparatus, while artist-made game mods do so quite often- Because the tecnical apparatus of gaming is quite different from film, so too the status and quality of foregrounding is different. The gaming apparatus may be foregrounded through image or through code."

My first thought went to Barthes, the idea of "revealing the guts of the apparatus" is a dead match for Barthes ideas on the writerly text (or mods and their "boringness" which gets to follow his ideas on bliss-jouissance- in "The Pleasure of the Text"), his wanting to dissect what is written and constantly giving it new meaning, or finding something... some connotation, some form that is different. Of course this thought was exacerbated by the final sentence of the paragraph, "The gaming apparatus may be foregrounded through image or through code," the use of code is redisplayed, but in a new form, that doesn't necessarily refer to the writerly text, but can in fact give the term new meaning and a more interesting connotation. This then led me to a sort of reverse thought process from mods to the writerly text, by which I mean I began considering the writerly text as an art form as avant-garde as the mods instead of a stripping or decoding process. My second thought was placed with Timecode. Not because it follows Barthes, per se, but because it follows a "gutting" of the narrative, in the film you are being taken into these peoples "lives" which display the truth or naturalness of human daily life or rather something raw and different as opposed to the romanticized forms of films that are constantly being produced, this displaying more of what we wish life was like instead of what it is.

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