ROMchip: A Journal of Game Histories

Friday, April 12, 2024
2PM EST on the ROMchip Twitch Channel


About the Talk
Pow's talk traces historically trans critiques, subversions, and re-imaginings of the sovereignty of the computer through the work of three trans programmers and game designers, Danielle (Dani) Bunten Berry, Jamie Faye Fenton, and Cathryn Mataga. Between 1978 and 1998, they programmed and designed experimental video glitch art, artificial intelligences, and networked online media that imagined unprecedented uses for video games and computer software—new methods that questioned the binary of computer code and challenged the sovereignty of the computer systems on which their games and programs were designed to be played. In their work, Berry, Fenton and Mataga positioned the home computer and video game console not as the site of unlimited futures and possibilities, but as objects that were inherently limited, that oversimplified, and that could never really hold or simulate the complexity of human life and choice during a period of great change with regard to the shifting visibility, diagnosis, and control of trans people in medical history.

About the Author
Whit Pow (they/them) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. Their book project, People Orientations: Toward a Transgender Video Game and Software History, looks at the intersection of trans medical history, surveillance, and policy with computer and video game history. Their work has been published in and is forthcoming from Camera Obscura, Feminist Media Histories, ROMchip: A Journal of Game Histories, the art magazine Outland, and on the Social Science Research Council’s Just Tech platform, among others. Pow is a recipient of the NYU Center for the Humanities Faculty Fellowship.

About ROMchip
ROMchip: A Journal of Game Histories is a free, online scholarly journal for game history. ROMchip develops, edits, and publishes ad-free, open access game history research for a range of audiences. It supports any discipline of work enlivening the history of games in local and global contexts, and embraces diversity in how game history is studied, documented, collected, preserved, and practiced.