April 29, 2006

hej! jag aer i sverige!

by Mary Flanagan · , 6:03 am

Greetings from Karlskrona, Sweden, where I’m a visiting distinguished scholar at the Blekinge Institute of Technology. While my students at Hunter College NYC are busy prepping for their graduate reviews (crits) mid-May, I’ve been making the rounds with folks here in the Literature, Culture and Digital Media program. Past scholar visitors to the program have included Kate Hayles, Jesper Juul, and Jay Bolter.

(large scale chess demo derby, Stockholm)

The Literature, Culture and Digital Media program consists of an interesting set of new media, cultural studies, and literature courses conducted in English. The school lies in a town that is really an island among an archipelago…

(view on the way to the Institute)
Karlskrona is steeped in naval history and shipping, while the surrounding area is filled with castles, ruins, and prehistoric finds. The program offers both undergrad degrees in Lit, Culture, and Digital Media, and the opportunity to do PhD work through affiliated Uppsala University.

The lectures I’ve given include topics such as : Theories of the Monstrous Body in literature and electronic literature, Introduction to the field of Game Studies, Harry Potter: a case study in film-to-game remediation, Harry Potter: narrative, causality, and Vladimir Propp’s Folktale, History of Game Design, Radical Computing, Feminist Game Design.

(Stockholm’s street ghosts weep for spring)

I have just returned from Stockholm, where LKDM director of research and absolutely invigorating scholar Danuta Fjellestad and I had a brainstorming meeting at Vinnova, the Swedish centre for Innovation, the group who partly funded my research stay. There we discussed mobile games and mobile technology design, and meetings with the folks at the Mobility Lab and the Game lab at the Interactive Institute. In between these events I’m working on a front end for a new project as well as secret new writing and art stuff, which dear readers will find disclosed to them over time.

I was happy to learn about the growing number of funded PhD positions available through connections with LKDM – students in Sweden seem to live well! And the possibilities of working with the Interactive Institutes or other research bodies (including BTH’s program in European Spatial Planning) is just plain exciting.

Talan Memmott taught a special course sequence here this spring, and thus he and I (above) finally met in Karlskrona after co-inhabiting the various DAC and art-lit circles. This has been a highlight. Long discussions about perceptions of spatiality, environments, and the mobile subject promptly ensued, as well as the consumption of copious amounts of Scottish beverages. Other visitors have included several faculty members and students from Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech.

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