Authors: Isabelle Arvers – ISEA 2022 Barcelona

This conference analyses the tactical use of immersive works, video games and machinimas, as a good way to document, archive, represent and promote oral tradition and ancestral knowledge, in order to decolonize the imaginary through a dialog between different kinds of knowledges.

Keywords: Decolonizing, Imaginary, Ancestral, Knowledge, Machinima, Deterritorializaton, Reterritorialization, Games, Indigenous, Pluriversalism

Venue: CCCB


This essay starts from a reading of Decolonizing the virtual: Fu-ture Knowledges and the Extrahuman in Africa, a collection of essays published in the Journal of African Studies in March 2021, responses, and commentaries to the Abiola lecture delivered by Achille Mbembe in 2016 in the context of #Rhodesmustfall and the new light given by this movement to the question of decolo-nizing knowledge.[1] During this lecture, Mbembe states that Africans are better able to leap into the digital because there is a similarity between the plasticity of pre-colonial knowledge and the plasticity of digital virtuality. I therefore sought to know if this hypothesis could be verified: is the digital, through immersive works, video games and machinimas, a good way to document, archive, represent and promote oral tradition and ancestral knowledge? And it is then that I discovered the text of Lia Beatriz Teixeira Torraca published in April 2021 on the Aesthetic look of affect which analyses the machinima as being a medium allowing to change the point of view, to proceed to a displacement, to a reterritorialization while simultaneously presenting multiple worlds and spaces, often invisibilized.

Biography: Isabelle Arvers

Isabelle Arvers Decolonizing the imaginary

PHD Candidate, LARSyS, Interactive Technologies Institute (ITI), Faculdade de Belas-Artes, Universidade de Lisboa (FBAUL), Portugal, is a French artist and curator whose research focuses on the interaction between art and video games. For the past twenty years, she has been investigating the artistic, ethical, and critical implications of digital gaming. Her work explores the creative potential of hacking video games through machinima. As a curator, she focuses on video games as a new language for artists. She curated several shows and festivals around the world, including Jibambe na Tec (Nairobi, AF, 2020), Tecnofeminismo (Bogota, AF, 2019), Art Games World Tour exhibit (Buenos Aires, 2019), Interspecies Imaginaries (Overkill, 2019), Machinima in Mash Up (Vancouver Art Gallery, 2016), UCLA Gamelab Festival (Hammer Museum, Los Angeles 2015, 2017), Evolution of Gaming (Vancouver, 2014), Game Heroes (Alcazar, Marseille, 2011), Playing Real (Gamerz, 2007), Mind Control (Banana RAM Ancona, Italy, 2004), Node Runner (Paris, 2004) Playtime (Villette Numérique, 2002)