GAME ENGINES BEYOND GAMES is a one-day symposium that will bring together artists, curators and scholars to explore the expanded concept of game engines.


Game engines have been increasingly utilized in a variety of applications, from AI training, VR architectural simulations, to creating artworks. However, most of these uses only consider the game engine as a tool, rather than a medium. Despite the availability of different game engines, we must also consider what sort of thinking a particular engine puts forth. The military provenance of the term ‘engine’ may point towards contentious issues. Engines presuppose infrastructure: the road for the internal combustion engine, the railway for the steam engine. These engines have often entailed colonialism and imperialism, enclosed commons and uncontained emissions. Are there similar considerations at work with game engines, for example in the exploitation of vernacular creativity or the environmental costs of streaming technology? How can artistic work illuminate these concerns? What does it mean for artistic practitioners and theorists to work with, build, and modify game engines today? What can creative works tell us about the nature of contemporary game engines?

We envisage the term ‘engine’ broadly, not just as a technical or commercial product, but as complex, combinatory system that is used to mediate physical and digital objects. The symposium will take place at Parsons School of Design, New York on April 4, 2020, and be followed by the launch of "Teckle", a showcase of Scottish independent games at Babycastles Gallery.

Confirmed speakers include Phoenix Perry, John Sharp, Mattie Brice, Robert Yang and Nick Fortugno. There is no fee to attend.

If you have any questions, please contact the symposium organisers at gameartengines@gmail.com.