Black Virtuality

Monday, September 25, 2023 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT (GMT -04:00)

Black Virtuality Poster

Across digital media, Black people are portrayed in ways that are derogatory and harmful–if we are depicted at all. The representation of afro-textured hair is noticeably limited, with options ranging from comically large afros, unstyled “dread” locs, and misshapen cornrows. Through projects like ‘Ye or Nay? and the Open Source Afro Hair Library, artist A.M. Darke explores the consumption of Black bodies and the construction of a Black virtuality. In this talk, Darke shares a critical and liberatory approach for engaging marginalized communities in games and digital media.

This event is part of the “ADE for Game Communities: Enculturing Anti-Racism, Decolonization, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (ADE) in Games Research and Creation” series from the ADE Committee of the Games Institute, University of Waterloo, and is supported in part by funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

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A.M. Darke is an artist experimenting with media in the form of games, performance, software, and social practice. An Associate Professor of Digital Arts and New Media, and Performance, Play & Design at UC Santa Cruz, Darke also directs the Open Source Afro Hair Library, a free 3D resource of Black hair textures and styles. Darke's practice is informed by her expansive identities and interests, particularly as a neurodivergent, genderchaotic Black woman in search of collective freedom and healing. Her work has been shown internationally and featured in publications such as VICE, The New York Times, and NPR.