Monday, March 10, 2008

Fear Mongers

The big story about digital politics this month is the suspension of the Virtual Jihadi exhibition by Iraqi-American artist Wafaa Bilal at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. This is particularly surprising news, given that I know several people at RPI from the game studies conference circuit, and it certainly never sounded like a reactionary environment. But as I pointed out in an article in a recent volume of media/culture, the very idea of "terrorist videogames" excites the cultural imagination of regulatory forces.

The seventh chapter of the forthcoming Virtualpolitik book, which is about satires of surveillance and authentication, will include analysis of an installation by Bilal, whose work I also saw at last year's SIGGRAPH.

Update: Inside Higher Ed has written about the controversy here. The Sanctuary for Independent Media also hosted another version of Bilal's show, but apparently pressures to shut it down have come into play in the new location as well.

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