Raiford Guins – Use with Joystick Controller: The Stuff of Videogame History, A Lecture and Multi-Media Installation

This spring, The Watermill Center presents Emerging Dialogues, a new lecture series focusing on young academics forging new fields of inter-disciplinary research. The series' inaugural lecture comes from Raiford Guins, author, scholar, assistant professor of digital cultural studies at SUNY Stony Brook and editor of The Journal of Visual Culture. Co-sponsored by the Humanities Institute of Stony Brook, this pilot discussion is funded by Suffolk County Office of Film and Cultural Affairs.

Guins' lecture, Use With Joystick Controllers: The Stuff of Videogame History, will examine the material and ephemeral forms of videogame history: arcade cabinets, home consoles, game cartridges and packaging. Some of these artifacts will be on display as a multi-media installation the night of the lecture at Watermill. Guins' lecture explores contemporary emulation software that preserves video game code, allowing for online play of “classic" or “retro" games, but also asks, what happens when we look away from the screen? What artifacts remain and how are they accounted for in videogame history? Use With Joystick Controllers investigates the history of gaming as a material history embodied by vast amounts of stuff.

Guins' lecture is the first in a series of Emerging Dialogues presented by The Watermill Center and the Humanties Institute at Stony Brook. "Watermill is proud to collaborate with the Humanities Institute of Stony Brook on a new series of talks by young emerging academics," says Watermill Creative Director Jorn Weisbrodt. "It complements our programs for emerging artists fostering new approaches and interdisciplinary collaborations. In both cases Watermill aims at giving the public an intimate insight into the creative and cognitive process."

John Lutterbie, Stony Brook Associate Professor and Associate Director of the Humanities, concurs. "The Center's mission to reach out to the community parallels the Institute and University's desire to create sustainable relationships on the South Fork," says Lutterbie. "Personally, I have been inspired by Robert Wilson's creative genius and look forward to developing a strong relationship with the Center that will be of interest to the residents."

Raiford Guins is assistant professor of digital cultural studies in the Department of Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies and Consortium for Digital Arts, Culture, and Technology (cDACT) at SUNY Stony Brook. He is a founding principal editor for the Journal of Visual Culture, author of Edited Clean Version: Technology and the Culture of Control (University of Minnesota Press, 2009) and co-editor of The Object Reader (Routledge, 2009) and Popular Culture: A Reader (Sage, 22005). His research on videogames has appeared in a number of books and scholarly journals and he is currently writing a book on videogame history entitled, Extra Life: Game Artifacts, History, and Preservation.

The Humanities Institute at Stony Brook was established in 1987 on the campus of the State University of New York under the direction of Dr. E. Ann Kaplan. The three main missions of the institute are: to stimulate new modes of research within the humanities and social sciences; to build bridges between the human sciences and the medical, technical and natural sciences; and to reach out to the local community through conferences, lectures, film series and other public programs.


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Raiford Guins: Use with Joystick Controller: The Stuff of ...

Raiford Guins: Use with Joystick Controller: The Stuff of Videogame History, A Lecture and Multi-Media Installation