Endeavors to Represent the Non-Representational: Researching corporeal-locomotive media

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This article is based on the findings and results of a three-year-long stody of various gameplayers activities and experiences across different offscreen-onscreen gameworlds. The findings and results emerged through the use of a mixed methods approach that combined grounded theory method with phenomenography, remix methods, interpretative ethnography and visual methods. The present article will, with the concluded study as its foundation, present the developed methodological framework as well as the study’s methodological results and findings. The presented methodological framework, results and findings emerged through the development of a conceptual understanding of the non-representational and pre-linguistic nature and structure of corporeal-locomotive gameplay. Through the effort of trying to think and talk about games as corporeal-locomotive activities and experiences it quickly became apparent that it was senseless to interview or study the communication of gameplayers as it was to analyze their onscreen gameplay or make them fill out questionnaires. In this way, the traditional ways of conducting ‘game research’ was fruitless in the study’s endeavor to think and talk about the corporeal-locomotive dimension of gameplay where hands and bodies where moving to the (kin)aesthetic rhythms of the game’s choreography. Consequently, I found myself barred from ‘meaningfully’ communicating the expressive, sensuous and (kin)aesthetic meaning and significance of corporeal-locomotive gameplay without seeming ‘meaningless’ to the research community. Therefore, I was forced to take on the additional task of developing a methodological framework that, on the one hand, was capable of connecting with the corporeal-locomotive dimension in gameplay activity and experience in a generative, appreciative and appropriate way and, on the other hand, was capable of communicating and representing this emerging new research field of ‘gameplay corporeality’ in a meaningful, proper and scholarly sound way. In short, I found myself taking a leap of faith, as I witnessed my Ph.D. thesis turn into a vibrant mix of ‘research music videos,’ ‘film strips,’ ‘photo montages,’ ‘collages,’ ‘poetic tales,’ ‘theoretical remixes,’ ‘aestheticized metaphorical writings,’ ‘fictionalized narratives,’ ‘narrative inquiries.’
This article presents the methodological side of the story through presenting the results of this hazardous, messy and meticulous endeavor to represent the non-representational nature of corporeal-locomotive gameplay activity and experience. Furthermore, the article points towards the importance of letting the expressive research field or subject dictate the method, rather than letting the method dictate the exploration of the research field or subject – A circumstance that sets the methodological approach apart from more traditional approaches within media studies and game research.
Original languageEnglish
Publication year9 Aug 2013
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2013
Eventnordmedia 2013: Defending Democracy - Oslo, Norway
Duration: 8 Aug 201311 Aug 2013

Conference

Conferencenordmedia 2013: Defending Democracy
CountryNorway
CityOslo
Period08/08/201311/08/2013

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