I'm on my way Australia again. After a twelve hour flight from Frankfurt I currently get to spend some time on the Singapore airport, getting ready for another nine hours of flying.
So what brings me to the antipodes? Mainly research for my Ph.D. (which, I might add, is financially supported by the German Academic Exchange Service).
As some readers might know I'm looking into the differences of digital game discourses in Germany and Australia and how these relate to the socio-cultural history of both countries – an old "Kulturnation" such as Germany obviously has a different attitude towards mass media – and therefore digital games – than a young nation such as Australia.
One part of the plan is to make the work I've completed so far more coherent and factor in some of the advice fellow students gave me or that I received at conferences.
Moreover, I'm planning to look deeper into game discourses in Australian media; something that I obviously have done already but something that I feel I need to elaborate on – especially now that I had a chance to do some more research in Germany that brought my attention to angles I didn't consider before.
E.g. discourses about digital games in Germany until the early 1990s were often embedded in a broader discussion about the (supposedly negative) impact of computers. In no Western country the fear of rationalisation, surveillance and reduction to binary thinking by means of cold, soulless technology was as pronounced as in Germany.
Accordingly computers and digital games, similar to film, were confronted with antimodern, anti-capitalistic, anti-American sentiments, independent of their content. They were regarded as escapist trash that threatened national cultural assets as well as creativity and fantasy, two of the main pillars of artistic autonomy.
Will I find similar patterns in Australia? From what I've gathered so far, probably not. Australia always showed a very high acceptance of mass media and technology and "has yet to experience a moral panic generated by a politician around games to score some cheap political points with the conservative lobby."
This is a quote by my second supervisior, Brett Hutchins of Monash University whom I'm looking forward to meeting to further discuss my work. Moreover I'm planing to see my old lecturer and friend Jason Nelson who always supported me generously; other people I'd like to meet include Helen Stuckey, Games Curator at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and some members of the Australian game industry, but that will eventually depend on how the research goes.
If you happen to be a reader of blogcampaigning and live either on the Gold Coast or Melbourne drop me a line because it would be great to meet you too!
Ok, I gotta go, several more hours of hanging around at this aiport demand my attention...