Emma Westecott

CONNECTIONS traces historical precedents for the emerging area of feminist art games. By identifying key feminist interactive, game art. and performative artworks over the past fifty years and placing them on a timeline this project explores and builds connections across time, place and context. The work primarily focuses on Canadian artists but does reference key pieces, exhibitions, and events that have contributed to the field of feminist game art over the years. The selection of work is partial, problematic, and inevitably reflects the biases of its authors, but aims at starting a process rather than offering any definitive history in the hope that others will extend and diversify the discussion of works selected.

The idea behind this research is to both connect and amplify themes common to feminist game art practices in related expressive forms. Links are drawn across the work selected: from the use of chance, humour, the body (via wearable art and as interface); themes like intimacy, the handmade and sexuality, to practices like hacking (whether bodies or reality) and modding and, importantly, via an ongoing interest in collaboration and process. Yet there are important differences between generations relevant to the times and technologies engaged that will emerge from a discussion of key art works.

This project is aimed at being pragmatic, at giving future feminist game artists a heritage to draw on, a continuum to situate themselves in, or against, and – importantly – tools for grant writing. This is important both to the nascent field of feminist game studies and to emerging feminist game artists in terms of identifying historical connections and contexts of critique.