This jam is now over. It ran from 2022-02-28 23:00:00 to 2022-11-01 11:59:59. View results
Critical-Creative Philosophy is a half-year jam running from the beginning of March 2022 until
the end of September 2022 the end of October 2022. Participants are asked to create a “critical-creative” piece based on a canonical work of philosophy. This means that their (and their audience’s) critical engagement with the work of philosophy they’ve chosen should take a creative form. For some examples of what we have in mind when we say this, please see our FAQ.
Artistic pieces inspired by the lives and works of famous philosophers are ubiquitous, but few of these make substantive, lasting contributions to the ways their philosophies are understood by academics or by the general public. Academic scholarship is difficult for the general public to access, too, and does not do as much as it could to enrich their approaches to the canons, traditions, and problems they’d like to learn more about or explore for themselves.
Our jam aims to bridge this gap between academic philosophy and philosophy as an activity that anyone might enjoy. We want you — yes, you, regardless of your philosophical background and experience — to create pieces that combine the critical and the creative, such that anyone with an interest in the philosophical work you’ve chosen will learn something about it, see it with fresh eyes, or simply enjoy (re)visiting it in a new form.
To encourage participation from a wide variety of people, we offer the following prizes:
Our judges are:
1. What do you mean by “critical-creative?”
Critical-creative work collapses what are typically considered two distinct activities: 1) Critical engagement with (in this case) a work of philosophy, where the object is to follow/reject/qualify its argument or to capture its spirit; and 2) the creation of an artistic work — something that solicits the imagination; plays with its medium; implicates artist or audience in the manner it unfurls.
We are interested in pieces where critical engagement with a work of philosophy takes a creative form, and where this interplay between philosophy and artistic creation is mutually illuminating. For examples, please see FAQ #3 and #4.
2. How should my critical-creative piece relate to philosophy?
Your primary source — a work of philosophy — should not just inspire your piece. It should not serve as a font for quotations, concepts, characters, axioms, etc., that you simply adapt to your piece’s subject matter (ex., “If one were to press me to say why I loved him, I feel that this cannot be expressed. [… It is because he] was he; [and I] was I.” — Montaigne, quoted in a piece about friendship). Nor should it merely occasion your piece by featuring its buzzwords (ex., Wittgenstein’s language-games) or what are commonly thought to be its takeaways (ex., Nietzsche’s ubermensch makes their own law).
Rather, your piece should be in the service of the work(s) of philosophy you’ve chosen. It could enrich, challenge, or clarify your audience’s reception of the work(s). It could prompt your audience to enact the work’s argument; tinker with its system of description; connect with one of its characters; or fiddle with the raw text of the work itself. It could juxtapose one work with another such that your audience’s understanding of both is changed in a way that only this juxtaposition could make possible. It could upset some aspect of your work’s foundations, overhaul its structure, or bring it to bear on something that was unimaginable at the time of its creation. You could take some things and leave others. We welcome anything, so long as it is both a piece of scholarship and a work of art (broadly construed).
3. What kinds of pieces can I submit?
We will accept games of any stripe (board games, solo and collaborative tabletop roleplaying games, video games, etc.); visual, aural, or literary art; and works within the digital humanities (except straightforward archives such as The Nietzsche Source and The Wittgenstein Source). The piece must feature an interactive component and may be excerpted from a larger work. We especially welcome pieces that are born-digital and are not opposed to submissions that are drafts or outright vaporware. Here are some examples:
Please note that your piece must be (and remain) free for all to access. We accept submissions in any language. If you’re looking for inspiration, we'll highlight examples of critical-creative pieces from other disciplines and pitch ideas for individual pieces on our Twitter feed. You are welcome to develop these ideas into your own projects – just link back to the original Tweet.
4. I still don’t really get it. Can you give me more examples of critical-creative work?
Here are some examples (of, I should note, works that we consider critical-creative but would not accept as submissions — compare FAQ question #3, above):
If you’re unsure whether your project would qualify for this competition, please feel free to shoot us an email at critcreaphil [at] gmail [dot] com prior to the submission deadline. We’re happy to clear your project or to point you in the right direction.
5. Who can submit a piece to this jam?
Anyone. We particularly encourage submissions from persons without permanent academic positions, such as graduate students, postgraduates, and independent researchers, regardless of their field. You do not need an institutional affiliation to submit a piece to this jam, nor do you need to be involved in academia.
6. What should I include with my submission?
Submissions should include your piece, a short description that reflects upon what it’s doing, and a link to a document that lists any relevant references and sources. We also ask that you tell us a bit about who you are. Please see our Rules for additional information about citations.
7. What works of philosophy are eligible as my primary sources for this jam?
Any work by any canonical philosopher from any philosophical tradition is eligible, provided the philosopher in question is no longer alive. Please feel free to shoot us an email if you’re worried about the eligibility of the work(s) you’ve chosen at critcreaphil [at] gmail [dot] com.
We emphasize that your piece should not be about the life of a particular philosopher (ex., we would not accept a piece like 88 Constellations for Wittgenstein (to be played with the Left Hand) by David Clark — according to Clark, this piece is a metabiography).
8. What if I want to make a piece that deals with a particular philosophical problem, as opposed to a philosophical work?
You’re welcome to do so provided the piece is grounded in at least one work that fits the specifications set out in FAQ #7, above.
9. My piece deals with a work of philosophy that is also a work of art (ex., a novel by Simone de Beauvoir). Can I submit it to this competition?
Yes — but we urge you to clear it with us in advance, particularly if it is in the “philosophical novel” genre; is not written by a philosopher; or is predominantly discussed in literature departments (ex., Milan Kundera’s The Unbearable Lightness of Being, which falls under all three categories).
10. I’ve never done this in my life and have no idea where to start.
Check out the examples mentioned throughout this FAQ, poke around our Resources, and scroll through our Twitter feed to see what catches your eye and if there’s someone in the likes/comments/retweets you might like to connect with. We also encourage you to chat with other participants in the Community tab forum on our itch.io page.
11. I have more questions!
Please email us at critcreaphil [at] gmail [dot] com or post your question to the extended FAQ topic in the Community tab on the jam’s itch.io site.
🔹 Last updated: February 21st, 2022 🔹
… Here for sample projects or to get some ideas? Check out the jam description and FAQ or scroll through this.
“I want philosophical resources – primary sources; commentary; things to watch/listen to/read…”
“I want to know more about critical-creative scholarship in its own right — give me theory!”
“I want tools and inspiration for making born-digital works.”
“I want tools and inspiration for making print and/or digital TTRPG’s.”
“I want tools for stuff that might supplement my work – how to cite; how to copyright; how to introduce it/myself to an audience…”
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