Call for papers – deadline midday, Friday 26 April 2013

Play, writes Roger Caillois (Man, Play and Games, 1961), is an activity that is free and non-productive, unfolds in a circumscribed time and place with an uncertain conclusion, is rule-governed and ‘accompanied by a special awareness of a second reality’.This conference will explore diverse expressions of game/play in literature, film, the visual arts, performance, architecture and design. It is concerned with games that serve as allegories, as narrative devices or as structuring metaphors; from playful conceits through to the esoterica of avant-garde experimentation.We invite proposals for 20 minute papers from students at MA and PhD level, both from literature departments and across other disciplines. Extracts from work in progress are welcome.Submissions might consider game/play as…

…a confrontation with chance and uncertainty
…a questioning of identity
…a sublimation of conflict
…an envisaging of ulterior space
…a reaction against utility
…a challenge to systemisation
…an engagement with structure and restraint

The following list of fluid, non-restrictive categories, exemplary practitioners and works demonstrates the range of approaches and topics that applicants might like to consider…

Game/play as content
Thomas Middleton’s A Game at Chess | Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Gambler | Michael Haneke’s Funny Games | Raymond Chandler’s The High Window

Game/play as form
Laurence Sterne’s Tristram Shandy | Raymond Queneau’s Exercises in Style | Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves | Philip Sydney’s Lady of May

Game/play as practice

  • Unconventional, non-linear and emergent videogame narratives – Christine Love, Fumito Ueda, thatgamecompany
  • Immersive, confrontational and experimental theatre practitioners – Punchdrunk, Forced Entertainment, The Factory 
  • Improvisatory, collaborative and performance-based art – Marina Abramović, Spartacus Chetwynd, Jeremy Deller

Please send abstracts of 250-300 words, along with a very brief biographical statement, to

Deadline for submissions: midday, Friday 26 April 2013.


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