In January 2016 I was given the fantastic opportunity to present at The Futures of the End of Live Symposium that was held here in Lancaster.
I did not know it back then, but this was the beginning of a wonderful and rich experience in CeMoRe. In January 2017, one year after Monika Büscher’s kind invitation to consider a visit, I returned to Lancaster looking forward to a three-month stay as visiting PhD student.
My interdisciplinary research project explores the consumption and semiotic qualities of mobile digital games. Games provide an incredibly rich form of cultural expression and developed into an integral part of many people’s everyday lives. Within this very popular media, events of death and dying are omnipresent and constitute a central aspect of digital gaming practices and expression. My research focuses on the mobility of conceptions, images, and iconography of death in a popular genre called hidden object games. I look into the questions of what sociocultural concepts and aspects of ‘death’ are constructed and negotiated in these games and how ‘death’ is represented on the narrative and visual level.
The CeMoRe showcase was a wonderful occasion to present my project in as little time as three minutes and to chat with other researchers connected to CeMoRe. I also greatly enjoyed the regular reading groups where we discussed a variety of texts related to the participant’s current research. The meeting I chaired in January dealt with a chapter of Baudrillard’s Symbolic Exchange and Death . I find his observations extremely inspiring, especially the notion of a cyclical connection between the living and the dead and in this sense perceiving death more as a relationship than an event.
Among the highlights of my stay was Monika Büscher’s talk on mobile utopia and participating in piloting Malé Luhan Escalante’s game ‘isITethical’. The discussions following these sessions made me realize the strong ethical implications connected to actions preventing death or dealing with the dead as part of crisis and disaster management. Drawing on this perspective, I am convinced that by studying death related questions we can draw many conclusions about what we value in life.
After all, I am highly inspired by this brief visit and feel that my research has benefited in many ways from the multiple chances of exchanging ideas. I am not only referring to the PhD seminars, the writing groups, the colloquia, the spontaneous discussions over lunch or a cup of tea that helped me to improve my work. I am especially thankful to a multitude of people whose interest and support made me feel very welcome in CeMoRe, truly enriched my thinking and helped me to progress with my research.