February 20, 2005

Jouons un Drame

by Andrew Stern · , 10:17 pm

The next International Conference on Virtual Storytelling will be held November 30 to December 2, 2005 in Strasbourg, France. Submissions are due May 27. See our trip report from 2003’s ICVS.

Janet Murray is already lined up to be one of the keynote speakers; two more are to be announced.

(Uh oh, speaking of scheduling conflicts — ICVS overlaps with Digital Arts and Culture, a few hundred miles to the north in Copenhagen! Hmm, maybe a flight to Paris, a train to Strasbourg, a commuter jet to Copenhagen…)

By the way, if I butchered that French, please blame it on Lycos.

3 Responses to “Jouons un Drame”

  1. Juego Says:

    No, you didn’t butchered it. Though, I was surprised to see a french title on your site. ;-) Thanks for the good work. J.

  2. Ian Bogost Says:

    This brings up a rather important point the French title raises. Jouons un drame implies let’s play this drama, this one right here, this very one. But what you’re really interested in is playing multiple possible dramas, of the notion of playing dramas that produce multiple dramas. To get that across, I’d probably go with Jouons au drame … this gives the sense that you are playing drama at a higher level.

    Actually, there’s a common grammatical confusion in French between jouer à and jouer de. The former suggests playing or participating (jouer au foot), while the latter is used for playing an instrument (jouer de la flute). Perhaps what this partititve construction suggests here is that when you play an instrument, you are playing it (instrumentally) to play something, a song, one among many possible configurations. This seems a bit like what we’re talking about with interactive drama.

    Maybe some of the francophone readers here can comment on how jouer has been used in relation to IF in French language writing. It’s an interesting, if pedantic, question.

  3. Nicolas Szilas Says:

    I feel that I do have to answer…

    “jouer” and “jeu” have several meanings in French, as in many languages (see Homo Ludens written by Johan Huizinga, which gives plenty of etymological details about “game” in many languages)

    You can “jouer” something, “jouer” at (de), “jouer” with (avec) soemthing, “jouer” yourself of something/somebody (se jouer de, which means something like “to defy”), etc.

    But the most interesting meaning of “jouer” for IF and Interactive Art comes from… mechanics! “jouer” means “allowing some small mouvements between two parts of a mechanism”. “jeu” (game / play) means the interestice between two parts, which allow them to move slightly. If we follow this meaning, an IF “joue”, in the sense that it allows some freedom (but not too much) between its components, from a initial position. With this meaning, we get rid of any notion of fun or competition in the “jeu”, to focus on the notion of limited freedom.

    Note also that a mechanism without “jeu” cannot work, because parts cannot move… the analogy with IF/Interactive Drama is striking.

    By the way, I organised last December in Paris a one-day conference entitled: “jouer avec une histoire, un defi pour les modia interactifs” (“playing with a story, a challenge for interactive media”)… This time, it was “jouer AVEC” (with) !
    For those who are curious and not afraid of French, here is the link:
    A book is in preparation from this event… I tell you more in a few months.


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