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    The cinematic texts of Edgar Allan Poe: from the written word to digital art
    (2012-11) Gil Curiel, Germán
    Debates on the encounters between literature and cinema have for a long time focused on the different ways in which each convey interiority and subjectivity, the argument being that literature is better suited for these purposes since film inevitably shows, thus it is better suited to convey external action (Kroeber 2006). The argument is presented in such a way that the cinematic and the literary are made to oppose each other, supposedly bringing about diametrically different aesthetic experiences of subjectivity and consciousness, and contrasting perceptions of reality outside oneself, with a focus on the way space, time and perception are rendered on film and in literature (See for instance (Gil-Curiel 2013). In this piece however my key tenet is that art is either a total artwork or not art at all. By total artwork I am here referring to the idea often attributed to Richard Wagner, but that can in fact be traced back to Friedrich Nietzsche, that literature, theatre, music and painting would all be brought together by a kind of art that would encompass all of them, referring, at that time, to opera. This idea was later retaken by Riciotto Canudo and other early film theorists, arguing that such an artwork would in fact be cinema. For in cinema, the argument ran, theatre, music, literature, painting, dance and even architecture ‘all found (…) an efficient way of understanding themselves and of co-operating with each other creatively’ (Ruíz 2007, 9), helping each other, as it were, to bring out the best in each one of them. For most of the 20th century, however, these ideas were much marginalised as film studies struggled to establish itself as a discipline in its own right, and as universities sliced up knowledge into separate fields in accordance with dominant epistemologies of the day. Nevertheless, recently the view that knowledge is in fact inherently interdisciplinary and the convergence that digital media have brought about have thrown the intermediality of cinema into sharp relief, allowing other forms of thinking about the nature of art and the relation between cinema and literature and the other arts and media. My contention is thus that there was always cinema in certain works of literature, and literature in many films, and that indeed, all pieces of art that deserve that name implicitly contain all the other arts. In the paragraphs that follow I shall first explain what I mean by ‘total art’ and then point to the cinematic features in three pieces by Edgar Allan Poe that Jean Epstein drew from to create his La Chute de la maison Usher (1928) (The Fall of the House of Usher). I then move on to the literary features of Epstein’s film, to show the way literature and film—and in some cases, music and painting as well—are interwoven in a complex kind of work that we might call ‘a total artwork’ of sorts.
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    "PS. I Love You": understanding the impact of posthumous digital messages
    (Association for Computing Machinery, 2016-05-07) Jamison-Powell, Sue; Briggs, Pam; Lawson, Shaun; Linehan, Conor; Windle, Karen; Gross, Harriet
    A number of digital platforms and services have recently emerged that allow users to create posthumous forms of communication, effectively arranging for the delivery of messages from 'beyond the grave'. Despite some evidence of interest and popularity of these services, little is known about how posthumous messages may impact the people who receive them. We present a qualitative study that explores the type of experiences potentially triggered upon receiving such messages. Our findings firstly suggest that posthumous messaging services have the potential to alter the relationship between the bereaved and the deceased, and secondly provide insight into how users make sense of this altered relationship. Through the inference of a set of design considerations for posthumous communication services, we reveal a number of conflicts that are not easily solvable through technological means alone, and which may serve as starting points for further research. Our work extends the growing body of research that is concerned with digital interactions related to death and dying.
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    Designing brutal multiplayer video games
    (Association for Computing Machinery, 2016-05-07) Marshall, Joe; Linehan, Conor; Hazzard, Adrian; Leverhulme Trust; Arts and Humanities Research Council
    Non-digital forms of play that allow players to direct brute force directly upon each other, such as martial arts, boxing and full contact team sports, are very popular. However, inter-player brutality has largely been unexplored as a feature of digital gaming. In this paper, we describe the design and study of 2 multi-player games that encourage players to use brute force directly against other players. Balance of Power is a tug-of-war style game implemented with Xbox Kinect, while Bundle is a playground-inspired chasing game implemented with smartphones. Two groups of five participants (n=10) played both games while being filmed, and were subsequently interviewed. A thematic analysis identified five key components of the brutal multiplayer video game experience, which informs a set of seven design considerations. This work aims to inspire the design of engaging game experiences based on awareness and enjoyment of our own and others' physicality.
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    Designing movement-based play with young people using powered wheelchairs
    (Association for Computing Machinery, 2016-05-07) Gerling, Kathrin; Hicks, Kieran; Kalyn, Michael; Evans, Adam B.; Linehan, Conor; University of Lincoln, United Kingdom
    Young people using powered wheelchairs have limited access to engaging leisure activities. We address this issue through a two-stage project; 1) the participatory development of a set of wheelchair-controlled, movement-based games (with 9 participants at a school that provides education for young people who have special needs) and 2) three case studies (4 participants) exploring player perspectives on a set of three wheelchair-controlled casual games. Our results show that movement-based playful experiences are engaging for young people using powered wheelchairs. However, the participatory design process and case studies also reveal challenges for game accessibility regarding the integration of movement in games, diversity of abilities among young people using powered wheelchairs, and the representation of disability in games. In our paper, we explore how to address those challenges in the development of accessible, empowering movement-based games, which is crucial to the wider participation of young people using powered wheelchairs in play.
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    Learning curves: analysing pace and challenge in four successful puzzle games
    (Association for Computing Machinery, 2014-01) Linehan, Conor; Bellord, George; Kirman, Ben; Morford, Zachary H.; Roche, Bryan
    The pace at which challenges are introduced in a game has long been identified as a key determinant of both the enjoyment and difficulty experienced by game players, and their ability to learn from game play. In order to understand how to best pace challenges in games, there is great value in analysing games already demonstrated as highly engaging. Play-through videos of four puzzle games (Portal, Portal 2 Co-operative mode, Braid and Lemmings), were observed and analysed using metrics derived from a behavioural psychology understanding of how people solve problems. Findings suggest that; 1) the main skills learned in each game are introduced separately, 2) through simple puzzles that require only basic performance of that skill, 3) the player has the opportunity to practice and integrate that skill with previously learned skills, and 4) puzzles increase in complexity until the next new skill is introduced. These data provide practical guidance for designers, support contemporary thinking on the design of learning structures in games, and suggest future directions for empirical research.