Friday, December 21, 2012

2012 Retrospective

Photo by .:Camilo:.
As 2012 draws to a close, it's time for a Peasant Muse (and personal writing) retrospective.  Below you'll find my top posts of the year, with a brief explanation on what that post (or series of posts) meant to me.

Between Reality & Cyberspace - This post was a response to Mr. Teacup's assessment of PJ Rey's 'There is No Cyberspace'.  In it, I tried to elaborate the frictional points that existed between the web and reality in an augmented reality conception.  This was one of my first attempts to discuss concepts of asynchronicity and 'textual dualism', concepts that would feature prominently in my Future Internet article discussed below.

The Data Serf Series - One of the two trends to evolve in my thinking this year dealt with what I've termed 'data serfdom'.  In two posts, From Data Self to Data Serf and Creating A Modern Feudal Order, I discuss the larger implications of both the quest for verified data by owners of data platforms and the increasing vassalization these data platforms pursue in siloing their services for users.  This is a topic I plan on investigating further in the coming year.

Games and the Word - The first part of a longer, three-part series, Games and the Word begins with 'The Epistemic Reservoir' and a look at how board games went from dualist (in which the ludic reality depicted contained no direct linkages to real world situations) to de jure (as opposed to de facto) augmented constructions beginning in the 16th century with Christoph Weickmann's 'The Great King's Game'.  This is another piece that probes dualist versus augmented realities, but it also highlights the other trend in my thinking this year- how board games differ from their digital cousins.

Dark Definition - This is a post where I call for a more ethnographic approach in studying linking behavior in both online and offline settings.

Meanwhile, on the Boardwalk - This was a personal favorite of mine this year.  I felt that this third season of Boardwalk Empire was the best yet, and the episode I discuss here was definitely a highlight.  I've never done this sort of 'television critique' before, but it was very fun to write and I might try more of this next year.

Coding Mystique vs. Banality of Cardboard - Even though I just posted this, it has become one of my most popular essays on the site.  In light of the recent MoMa acquisition of video games for their exhibit space, I ask why board games were left out.  This is a continuation of my thinking regarding the differences between board games and video games, and, surprisingly, I'm finding the metaphysical aspect of board games to be their defining quality.

Yet beyond posts I've written here, 2012 was a great year in that I had two articles published in peer-reviewed journals.  A post that I originally debuted here, Going Beyond the Textual in History, made it's way to the Journal of Digital Humanities for their special 'Gaming' section in the second issue.  Also, my 'Theorizing the Web' presentation on textual dualist reality in Russian history was published in the special Future Internet journal issued dedicated to the conference.  Textual Dualism and Augmented Reality in the Russian Empire is probably the piece I'm most proud of, professionally, as it manages to blend my love of Russian history with current thinking on digital trends.  It also put my concepts of mobility and asynchronicity at the fore, and I'm excited to hear what people think as they read my article.

Last, but certainly not least, I also had an essay published on The New Inquiry website- No Accidents, Comrade.  Here I examine the Cold War board game Twilight Struggle and ask how this game contributes to the dominant 'chance' narratives embodied in popular understandings of that period.  I was extremely happy to work with such a talented group over at The New Inquiry (consider subscribing), and the resulting essay came out far better than I had ever hoped.  Next to my Future Internet article, this essay is dear to my heart.

Everyone have a great rest of 2012!

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