Playable Bodies: Dance Games and Intimate Media (Hardback)Kiri Miller (author)
Hardback 256 Pages / Published: 27/04/2017
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Playable Bodies investigates what happens when machines teach humans to dance. Dance video games work as engines of humor, shame, trust, and intimacy, urging players to dance like nobody's watching-while being tracked by motion-sensing interfaces in their living rooms. The chart-topping dance game franchises Just Dance and Dance Central transform players' experiences of popular music, invite experimentation with gendered and racialized movement styles, and present new possibilities for teaching, learning, and archiving choreography. Author Kiri Miller shows how these games teach players to regard their own bodies as both interfaces and avatars, and how a convergence of choreography and programming code is driving a new wave of full-body virtual-reality media experiences. Drawing on five years of ethnographic research with players, game designers, and choreographers, Playable Bodies situates dance games in a media ecology that includes the larger game industry, viral music videos, reality TV competitions, marketing campaigns, consumer reviews, social media discourse, and emerging surveillance technologies. Miller tracks the circulation of dance gameplay and related "body projects" across media platforms to reveal how dance games function as "intimate media," configuring new relationships among humans, interfaces, music and dance repertoires, and social media practices.
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 552 g
Dimensions: 238 x 163 x 20 mm
"Playable Bodies is a rigorous, innovative, beautifully written investigation of the relationship between dance, music, and the body in digital play. In addition to engaging, close analyses that are attuned to the interplay between affect, sociality, and technology, the book offers an invaluable model for digital ethnography. Whether or not you've played Dance Central or Just Dance you will learn something: about dance, about the body, about communities of practice, and about the social, aesthetic lives of the digital. Kiri Miller's DIY/DIA methodology alone is worth the price of the book."--Judith Hamera, author of Dancing Communities: Performance, Difference and Connection in the Global City and Professor of Dance at Princeton University
"Kiri Miller uses dance games to ask big questions about bodies, music, and new media. At the intersection of game studies, ethnomusicology, and dance, this book is all at once a study of an industry, an investigation of new media phenomena, and an ethnography of a culture that is at once online and embodied. For all its transdisciplinary breadth, Playable Bodies is a lucid, cogent, and definitive analysis of dance games-and where all video games may be headed."--Jonathan Sterne, author of MP3: The Meaning of a Format
"I recommend Playable Bodies to anyone looking for a solid model of virtual ethnography, which values one's interaction with technology as a complex embodied experience" --Mara Mandradjieff, DRJ
"This insightful analysis asks the reader to consider dance video games such as Just Dance and Dance Central as forms of 'intimate media.' Miller (music, Brown Univ.) argues that experiencing dance through video games is a way to 'cultivate new techniques of moving, listening, seeing and being seen, ' given that players/dancers learn through the machine and then publish their dances through media, which allows their audience to respond. This circle creates a unique feedback loop that Miller analyzes through participant observation, interviews with players and game designers, analysis of game-related materials on the web (provided by game companies and many forms of player-generated content), and other sources." --E. Bertozzi, Quinnipiac University, Choice
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