For those of you who are finding my work for the first time, I used to write games criticism and be involved with activist game-making in the video game scenes. You can check out my work here: mattiebrice.com or watch this talk I've given: https://youtu.be/tS4RvkiloHE
Since I started my career in games I've been fascinated by and investigated what it means to engage with politics with games. I and many others feel the unique qualities of play and feel like it can be used in activist contexts, especially in a time of great political upheaval and cultural strife. I am particularly interested in grappling with the very personal and intimate ways politics works out with regards to identity and other cultural issues, like gender, race, class, and all the other ways difference is used to oppress others. We're used to reading about this on social media and in the news as large-scale problems that one person can barely conceive of solving. Instead I feel like we can use play to develop practices in our everyday life with the people around us to collectively bring about social change.
As a design researcher I'm looking into how design processes for playing help us discuss and practice new ways of being community members, friends, intimate partners, coworkers. I especially enjoy the setting of the meal as a site for connection and change, so much of my design work will involve gathering around a meal for personal bonding.
My body of work is as free and accessible as it is possible. One of the main reasons I seek out patrons is to avoid making artistic expressions of games exclusive only to those who can afford it. So what you get, besides the games I produce publicly, are background materials that go on during my creative process. This means essays on what is inspiring my work, especially useful for those who aren't academics or trained designers but want to have a deeper look into designing for everyday activism. I also will be giving you small ritual games that I create for my daily practice that may or may not evolve into a larger project. And there will be plenty of behind-the-scenes documentation and commentary I'd like to share with my patrons, so everyone feels good about what's going on and what I'm going. Here's a breakdown of my main on-going projects:
- Every month I aim to create a full game in the form of a meal for two. These meals use play and ritual to facilitate a discussion between two people about how power, emotional labor, and identity issues manifest in their relationship and how they can manage it. A full recipe and ruleset will be freely available to the public. Patrons will be able to see the creative process that leads up to the final product including pictures, prototypes, and research I’ve been reading. The funds from patrons goes towards material costs.
- Also monthly I am running my Feasting series local in New York City, a live experiment in creating intentional communities through play. They are gatherings around meals along with games to help form support networks with a focus on sharing burdens of the emotional labor needed for living through our current political times. Materials from the Feastings that receive consent to will be shared with patrons and I will publicly share the games we try so others can run their own. Funds from patrons will be used to ease the burden of material costs for me and those who can’t afford to bring food.
- I am also working on a long-term, durational game that is currently untitled but already in production about creating equitable speculative intimacies. This is a series of dinners for two that I facilitate locally that facilitate two people playing games that help them invent or reimagine their relationship based on a speculative fiction world I’ve created. This is a big project and there isn’t really a clear product as of yet, it could end up as a research project at an institution or worked out through multiple residencies, or slowly worked out over time with the right amount of funds. Patrons will be able to see prototyping and research from this project, and I will present my process on this publicly whenever I do speaking engagements or interviews. Funds will cover material costs for running experiments. I’m still working out how I can share this project more publicly as it’s a very local, intimate experience, but I hope my other projects make up the balance for now.