Affirmations 2.0: the Politics of Liberation and Exploration of Healing in Digital Games




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Negative thoughts plague the self-consciousness of Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) and affect how we proceed through our days. Through my own struggle with this, I developed a personal coping mechanism of visualizing and facilitating an encounter with both the negative and positive attributed versions of myself as a Black woman. In previous works in ATEC, I developed a game, Affirmations, representing this personal coping mechanism for reconfiguring my sense of self. As an extension, Affirmations 2.0 explores the affordance of a digital game as a communally situated coping mechanism and critical making technology for Black women and children. Through the game, the player encounters intrusive thoughts and reflects on how the main conflict within oneself is rooted in the internalization of systemic oppression. In so doing, Affirmations 2.0 complicates player’s knowledge of the self and works as a flexible artifact that facilitates critical making, reflection, and self-care for Black women and children. This project directly addresses the concerns of mental health perceptions in the traditionally underrepresented group of Black women and children by highlighting the contributing factors of internalized systemic oppression. This project is grounded in the theoretical framework of pleasure activism and healing as community care work in order to resist neoliberalist perceptions of health as individualistic responsibilities. Furthermore, this project challenges the common oppositional relationship between game designer and player by introducing a collaborative partnership based on critical making between players and game designers. By engaging with the game’s infrastructure as a critical making technology, players will complicate their perception of their internal voice and understand the outside factors that affect individual and community health.



Fine Arts, Black Studies, Women's Studies