The ReImagining Value Action Lab (RiVAL) is a research and creativity workshop for the radical imagination active around the world and locally in Thunder Bay, Canada.
An interview with an (ex)conspiracist - with Brent Lee (CGCG20)
For 15 years Brent Lee not only believed in conspiracy theories but helped produce and popularize them. Today, he warns others about both the danger and the appeal of conspiratorial world-building. We have been taught to imagine that people fall into the proverbial "rabbit hole" because of isolation, idiocy and paranoia. But in this interview, Brent explains how he and many others came to it from through critical thinking, skepticism towards the operations of social power and empathy with those who were suffering. We explore with him why he stayed in the conspiracy world thanks, in part, to the sense of righteous community it provided. And we cover how the right-wing weaponization of conspiracy theories in the mid-2010s triggered Brent's exit from the community. Today, motivated by contrition for what he helped create and compassion for those who, like him, are taken in, he dedicates his time to helping those inside and outside conspiracy worlds understand and challenge them.
Brent Lee, a former conspiracist who now seeks to challenge and reveal the lures and dangers of conspiracism, maintains a blog (http://brentleetv.blogspot.com/) and a YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/c/BrentLeeTV) and can often be found on Twitter (https://twitter.com/BrentLeeSDCIC). His new podcast Some Dare Call it Conspiracy, dedicated to reverse-engineering conspiracy theories, launched in June 2022 (https://anchor.fm/somedarecallitconspiracy)
The empire plays back: Postcolonial countergaming - With Souvik Mukherjee (CGCG19)
How do today's videogames inherit and reiterate colonial ideologies, tropes and ways of seeing the world? Can such games be played “against the grain" in ways that defy the colonial script? We speak with Souvik Mukherjee.
Dr Souvik Mukherjee is assistant professor in Cultural Studies at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences Calcutta, India. Souvik’s research looks at the narrative and the literary through the emerging discourse of videogames as storytelling media and at how these games inform and challenge our conceptions of narratives, identity and culture, especially in Postcolonial contexts. Souvik is the author of two monographs, Videogames and Storytelling: Reading Games and Playing Books (Palgrave Macmillan 2015) and Videogames and Postcolonialism: Empire Plays Back (Springer UK 2017). He is also the co-editor (with Dr Emil Hammar) of the special issue ‘Postcolonial Perspectives in Videogames’. Souvik was named a ‘DiGRA Distinguished Scholar’ in 2019 by the Digital Games Research Association (DiGRA)
For more information, visit http://conspiracy.games
We have seen the conspiracists and they are us - with Clare Birchall and Peter Knight (CGCG18)
The line separating conspiracy theories from "legitimate" political discourse or critical theory is far from sharp. Renowned scholars Peter Knight and Clare Birchall join us to to reveal what's at stake and the broader (neoliberal capitalist) context.
Clare Birchall is Reader in Contemporary Culture at King’s College London. She is the author of Knowledge Goes Pop: From Conspiracy Theory to Gossip and Radical Secrecy: The Ends of Transparency in Datafied America. With Peter Knight, she is writing a book on Covid-19 conspiracy theories, which is the result of a one year AHRC grant on the topic.
Peter Knight is professor of American Studies at the University of Manchester. His research is on conspiracy theories, and the economic humanities. He is the author of Conspiracy Culture (2000), The Kennedy Assassination (2007), and Reading the Market (2016). He is editor of Conspiracy Nation (2002), Conspiracy Theories in American History: An Encyclopedia (2004), and The Routledge Handbook of Conspiracy Theories (2020). He directed the EU-funded Comparative Analysis of Conspiracy Theories network, and a project funded by the AHRC on conspiracy theories and the pandemic. He is currently leading “Everything Is Connected,” an AHRC-funded team project examining how conspiracy theories have changed in the age of the internet.
Listen, Gamer! For radical play and playful radicalism - with Marijam Didžgalvytė (CGCG17)
The left's relationship with games is "complicated." We're joined by labour organizer, YouTuber, writer and teacher Marijam Didžgalvytė to explain why, and what can be done about it.
Marijam Didžgalvytė is a creator of content at the intersection between videogames and politics. She lectures at the Royal Holloway, University of London and is a Marketing Executive at a Bafta-winning games studio. Didžgalvytė has helped form both the British and International chapters of the game unionisation movement and organizes antifascist gaming events. She has been shortlisted for GamesIndusty.biz's 100 Women in Games 2019 and was nominated Campaigner of the Year at MCV UK Awards 2019. Her writing has been commissioned for publications including Vise, the Guardian, Kotaku and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation and she ha sconsulted for Tate, V & A Galleries, Birkbeck, the European Humanities University and Indiecade.
Anti-capitalist games and other creative conspiracies - with Paolo Pedercini (CGCG016)
With game designer and professor Paolo Pedercini we explore the possibility of anti-capitalist games and what's behind today's conspiracy movements.
Paolo Pedercini is a game developer, curator and educator. He teaches digital media production and experimental game design at the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University. Since 2003 he works under the project name “Molleindustria” producing provocative games addressing issues of social and environmental justice, religion, and labor and sexuality.
Paolo is the director of LIKELIKE, a neo-arcade devoted to independent games and playful art in Pittsburgh, PA.
We Are 'Nature' Defending Itself (book presentation with Isa Fremeaux and Jay Jordan)
Isabelle Fremeaux and Jay Jordan of the Laboratory for the Insurectionary Imagination present their 2021 book **We Are 'Nature' Defending Itself: Entangling Art, Activism and Autonomous Zones** published by the RiVAL-affiliated VAGABONDS series of Pluto Press in cooperation with the Journal of Aesthetics & Protest
For a video version of this talk, please visit: https://youtu.be/4rcJjws1tlk
Information about the book: https://vagabonds.xyz/wandi/
Purchase the book worldwide: https://www.plutobooks.com/9780745345871/we-are-nature-defending-itself/
Information about the authors: https://www.labo.zone/
In 2008, as the storms of the financial crash started to blow, Isabelle Fremeaux and Jay Jordan deserted the metropolis and their academic jobs, embarking on a journey across Europe in search for postcapitalist utopias. They wanted their art activism to no longer be uprooted.
They arrived at a place French politicians had declared “lost to the republic”, known by those who inhabited it as la ZAD (the ‘zone to defend’): a messy but extraordinary canvas of commoning, illegally occupying 4,000 acres of wetlands where an international airport was planned.
In 2018, the 40-year-long struggle snatched an incredible victory, defeating the infrastructure project through a powerful cocktail that merged creation and resistance.