This jam is now over. It ran from 2017-02-10 00:00:00 to 2017-02-13 00:00:00. View 24 entries

John Berger, a brilliant arts and cultural critic, passed away after a long and prolific career at the start of 2017. This inspired me to revisit his works, especially his most well-known set of essays, Ways of Seeing.

Ways of Seeing consists of seven essays, four with text and three without. They were also later adapted into visual form through the BBC series of the same name. Berger's focus on the use of visuals, and the arguments and connections that placing images side by side and one after the other could create helped to make art history and criticism accessible to thousands.

Sometimes I think games criticism gets stuck in the same rut of perceived inaccessibility. It can be seen as stuffy and overwrought when you could just be having fun playing games, much in the same way people just want to look at beautiful paintings. Or maybe you do want to explore an idea about games that you find interesting, but the language of criticism can seem so complex and mystifying (something John Berger also took issue with!) that you feel stuck.

Either way I think it's inherently valuable to not just make games but also think about them and share your thoughts! I'm interested in how the form of the visual essay could be used to talk about games, and how using pictures instead of words can be a good way to connect your thoughts in different ways.

Rules (pretty simple!):

  1. Create a visual essay only using images (and brief captions to clarify the content of the images, if needed)!
  2. Make it into a slideshow, pdf, or some other format!
  3. Give it a title if you wish and upload it to the jam!

Tipz and Trickz (for hardcore essayists):

  • Here is my basic example of a game criticism visual essay!
  • Here is a PDF of Ways of Seeing for more examples of visual essays.
  • If you want a hard copy you can buy a copy of Ways of Seeing here. (It is also probably in your local library!)
  • You can also watch all the episodes of the BBC series here.
  • If you don't have your own idea yet, adapting an existing piece of game criticism into a visual essay is also good! Much of John Berger's arguments in Ways of Seeing draw heavily from the ideas of Walter Benjamin.
  • Google Slides is a good free and simple online tool for making your essay. (and if you have another good suggestion let me know)
  • If you want to go old school, draft your essay by printing out your images and arrange them on a pinboard or big sheet of paper. (Aby Warburg believes in you!)

If you have any questions or just want to tell me what you're working on, I'm @netgal_emi on twitter!

Happy (image) Hunting!



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