Writing about R o t M
First, there is a new, very dramatic trailer out for Ritual of the Moon! Please get hype. Now, onto writing about writing.
Not last summer but the summer before I wrote the first draft of an essay about the process of Ritual of the Moon, psychosocial disability, and time. It became two paper, one short and informal one on First Person Scholar, and one longer and more academic one in a special issue on queerness in Game Studies edited by Amanda Phillips and Bonnie Ruberg. Both papers are amazingly open access!
I'm really proud of this paper. Even though I'm an artist, my academic writing tends to be really dry (good for getting As in school but bad for being an artist-scholar), so being able to weave together theory, art practice, and personal experience helped enable me to experiment more with it. It also is the beginning of how I'm thinking through my academic projects and dissertation, which is about the regulation of affect and debility for profit of neoliberal capitalism done through videogames, and then imagining a different, healing form of game design based for psychosocial disability. I'll be starting to write that in earnest in the fall.
In these papers I talk about the design process as it relates to the faux-division of craft and technology, and the labour of craft, but mostly I focus on time. Specifically, combining notions of queer time with crip time, the former being about the ways in which queerness can and has reformed chrononormativity, queer people's relationship to time and urgency, oscillating between no future (Edelman) and hopeful futures (Munoz). Crip time is a term used to describe theories of time and disability (almost always as they are formed by capitalist impositions) that make us recognize how expectations of long things take are based on very particular minds and bodies. This is felt in the affect of every day life, the mundanity of the labour to keep on living. As you might have read in previous #RitualoftheMoonReflections, I think this daily mundane is a site of debilitation but at that same time can be the most important site of resistance, healing, and recuperation. In the paper in Game Studies, I talk about quantum time, how quantum physics is currently understanding the non-linearity of time, but I won't try to sum that up here!
I also talk about my feelings re: the game taking so much longer than I thought! An excerpt:
"I’ve spent a lot of the past two years agonizing and complaining. Oh my god I want the game to come out so much. It’s a year over my estimation. It’s not done. I really want it to be done. I’m scared it will never be done. I’m scared it will loom over my head for the rest of my life. I’m scared I will put it out before it’s ready.
How do you know when it’s time to let go?
But I’ve had to shift my thinking about it. Instead of hating that it isn’t out yet, I’ve started to tell myself that it needed time to be fully digested, for me and the team to fully understand it and do the idea justice. It needed time to transform. I tell myself that labour takes time. That love takes time. I needed time to strip it to the barest bones of meditation on healing the future.
I’m so used to making things in a hypomanic state: work work work, exhaust myself then be done. But the pace has to be different for this game because it is about a different pace. It is about daily dedication in small bits over long periods of time. It is about being confused, stuck, suicidal. It is about meditating for 5 minutes a day because over time that creates a ritual that sustains us. And maybe the game is waiting for the right time to be released. Maybe it is waiting for when it makes the most sense. I’m realizing that it feels more prescient than ever. I know it is on so many of our minds, that push and pull between the desire to set the world on fire, giving up on it, and only caring for each present instant, and on the other hand, putting every ounce of ourselves into making the world better even if it feels fruitless, even when the majority seems against us. It feels befitting and relevant to consider the future of queerness, of racism, and of disability in North America and much of the world, at a time when living on the moon by yourself doesn’t seem like such a bad idea."
Now, it's almost out and I have new feelings about it! More on that tomorrow...
2 days until release.
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