GAYME: The development, design and testing of an auto-ethnographic, documentary game about quarely wandering urban/suburban spaces in Central Florida

GAYME: The development, design and testing of an auto-ethnographic, documentary game about quarely wandering urban/suburban spaces in Central Florida

Announcing the Final Examination of David Thomas Moran for the degree of Master of Fine Arts

Date: Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Time: 2 p.m.
Room: UCF Visual Arts Building Conference Room
Thesis title: GAYME: The development, design and testing of an auto-ethnographic, documentary game about quarely wandering urban/suburban spaces in Central Florida

GAYME is a transmedia story-telling world whose primary goal has been to conceptually explore the dynamics of queering game design through the development of varying game prototypes. The final iteration of GAYME is @deadquarewalking. It is a documentary game and a performance art installation that documents a carless, gay man’s journey on Halloween to get to and from one of Orlando’s most well-known gay clubs – the Parliament House Resort. “The art of cruising” city streets to seek out queer/quare companionship particularly amongst gay, male culture(s) is well-documented in densely, populated cities like New York, San Francisco and London, but not so much in car-centric, urban environments like Orlando that are less oriented towards pedestrians. Cruising has been and continues to be risky even in pedestrian-friendly cities but in Orlando cruising takes on a whole other dimension of danger. In 2011-2012, The Advocate magazine named Orlando one of the gayest cities in America. Transportation for America also named the Orlando metropolitan region the most dangerous city in the country for pedestrians. Living in Orlando without a car can be deadly as well as a significant barrier to connecting with other people, especially queer/quare people, because of Orlando’s car-centric design. In Orlando, cars are sexy. At the same time, the increasing prevalence in gay, male culture(s) of geo-social, mobile phone applications using Global Positioning Systems (GPS) and location aware services, such as Grindr and even FourSquare and Instagram, is shifting the way gay/queer/quare Orlandoans co-create social and sexual networks both online and offline. Urban and sub-urban landscapes have transformed into hybrid “techno-scapes” overlaying “the electronic, the emotional and the social with the geographic and the physical” (Hjorth 2011). With or without a car, gay men can still geo-socially cruise Orlando’s car-centric, street life with mobile devices. As such emerging media has become more pervasive, it has created new opportunities to quarely visualize Orlando’s “technoscape” through phone photography and hashtag metadata while also blurring lines between the artist and the curator, the player and the game designer.

This project particularly has evolved to employ game design as an exhibition tool for the visualization of geo-social photography through hashtag play. Using hashtags as a game mechanic generates metadata that potentially identifies patterns of play and “ways of seeing” across player experiences as they attempt to make meaning of the images they encounter in the game. @deadquarewalking also demonstrates the potential of game design and geo-social, photo-sharing applications to illuminate new ways of documenting and witnessing the urban landscapes that we both collectively and uniquely inhabit.

*In Irish culture, “quare” can mean “very” or “extremely” or it can be a spelling of the rural or Southern pronunciation of the word “queer.” Living in the American Southeast, I personally relate more to the term “quare” versus “queer.” Cultural theorist E. Patrick Johnson (2001) also argues for “quareness” as a way to question the subjective bias of whiteness in queer studies that risks discounting the lived experiences and material realities of people of color. Though I do not identify as a person of color and would be categorized as white or European American, I think “quareness” has an important critical application for considering how Orlando’s urban design is intersectionally racialized, gendered and classed.

Outline of Studies:
Major: Emerging Media M.F.A. – Digital Media Concentration

Educational Career:
B.A., 2005, Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University

Committee in Charge:
Dr. J. Michael Moshell
Dr. Si-Jung Kim
Dr. Rudy McDaniel
Dr. Tison Pugh
Dr. M.C. Santana
Dr. Peter Smith
Dr. Stephanie Vie

Approved for distribution by J. Michael Moshell, Committee Chair, on March 11, 2014.

The public is welcome to attend.

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