rss_2.0Baltic Screen Media Review FeedSciendo RSS Feed for Baltic Screen Media Review Screen Media Review 's Cover Review: , Tallinn: 2021, ISBN 978-9916-4-0728-8, 688 pp. from Ukraine in Participatory Journalism: Siege of Aleppo and Narratives of Authenticity<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article explores witnessing within and as participatory journalism (participatory witnessing) based on a case study of narratives of the Aleppo siege created by amateur content producers, professional journalists and commenting audiences. To analyse the nuances and challenges of participatory witnessing as a practice and a field, I examine the narratives of all parties (tweeters in Aleppo, news outlets and people commenting below the news articles) as well as their visual and textual strategies for gaining “trust” by claiming authenticity. While news outlets were largely sympathetic to tweeters and amplified their messages, the commenting audience distanced themselves from the suffering and refused to bear witness by responding with four narratives: “tweeters are fake,” “tweeters are terrorists,” “the media is lying” and “collateral damage.” Many elements from the “post-truth” narrative repertoire were utilised to create distance from the scene of suffering. Therefore, empowering vulnerable parties to participate “in journalism” (inviting the audiences to “bear witness”) does not necessarily lead to participation “through journalism” (audiences “bearing witness” in response to these calls).</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-05-09T00:00:00.000+00:00When is a Poet an Instapoet?<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Through professional social media accounts, poets can become actors in the ecosystem of Social Media Entertainment (SME). In this article, using an ecological perspective, the accounts of five poets are treated as exhibits of processes they take part in, both platform-specific practices related to content creation in the SME, and practices showing the interlocking and overlapping of the SME with other ecosystems of cultural production. By doing this, the article aims to show how platformization as a socio-technological process is shaping the practice of being a poet. The article identifies the platform-specific practices the poets partake in that make it possible to say when they are being instapoets on Instagram. For the concept of “instapoet” to be fruitful when referring to poets, it is not enough for them to merely be on social media. A poet is an instapoet when they take on the platform-specific tasks of a social media creator, which is more than just producing content. Often, poets are not only instapoets. Rather, how much of an instapoet you are depends on how platform-dependent you are.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-05-09T00:00:00.000+00:00A Medium Is Born: Participatory Media and the Rise of Clubhouse in Russia and Ukraine During the Covid-19 Pandemic<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Clubhouse is a social network allowing only real-time oral communication. While its 2020 worldwide launch went largely unnoticed in Eastern Europe, it took countries such as Ukraine and Russia by storm in February 2021. Users were enticed by the platform’s exclusivity (invitation only and limited to IOS users), unusual format, and compatibility with post-covid social life. For some time, Clubhouse was the dominant theme of discussions on other social media, mainstream news media organizations started launching daily talk shows in the app, and early adopters engaged in a plethora of participatory activities ranging from propagandist broadcasts to 24/7 rooms where bots would recite Russian classical poetry, from fervently seeking ways to monetise their participation to creating the somewhat unexpected genre of audial fakes.</p> <p>In this article we intend to analyse the turbulent arrival of the new app in Russia and Ukraine from the perspectives of media ecology and media archaeology. Focusing on the app’s mediality and remediation, the social media discourse about it and particular content in some of the notable rooms, we highlight the conjunction of social environment, the already existing and novel technological affordances, as well as users’ perceptions and expectations in the emergence of a new niche in the ecology of participatory media. Based on this, we will also try to outline some possible scenarios for the new platform in Eastern Europe’s dense mediascapes. We argue that the prompt rise of Clubhouse’s popularity was not thanks to its special authenticity, as some suggest, but rather because of the normalization of group long-distance conversations (e.g., via Zoom), coupled with the intentional monomedia poverty of affordances and clearly delimited boundary between the roles of broadcasters and listeners, which was perceived as liberating in a produsage-saturated environment. This actually limits the participatory media potential of content creators and influencers, increasing their power and reviving monological models of communication that suggest a passive audience.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-05-09T00:00:00.000+00:00Where We Go One, We Go All: QAnon, Networked Individualism, and the Dark Side of Participatory (Fan) Culture<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Participation in online spaces has afforded new fan cultures (Baym, Burnett 2009; Jenkins 2018) and enabled new communities of networked individuals (Rainie, Wellman 2012; Burgess, Jones 2020). Online participation also generates participatory cultures, which allow audiences unprecedented opportunity to connect with each other and with the media they share. However, it has also generated some decidedly anti-social and anti-democratic movements, such as QAnon (Amarasingam, Argentino 2020). In this commentary, we argue that QAnon can be thought of as a participatory fan culture gone awry. Using QAnon’s entry into mainstream culture in 2020 as a case study, we explore the darker implications of online participatory culture, including misinformation, conspiratorial- thinking, and an undermining of shared realities. Lastly, we propose that these issues are made more explicit and difficult to attend to in a media sphere characterized by dominant neo-liberal corporate control of participatory media, and digital dualism.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-05-09T00:00:00.000+00:00Covid-19 Pandemic Coping Strategies in a Complex Landscape of Crisis Communication: A Participatory Study with Disability Organisations in Sweden Participatory Culture: Introduction in Case of Emergency: Framing the Pandemic Through Memes in Italy and Russia<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>During the COVID-19 pandemic, meme culture prospered. New topics, styles and problems emerged from meme-sharing, resulting in a specific genre – quarantine memes. Although some of the possible causes could be linked to the lockdown boredom and consequent increase in screen-time among internet users; we argue that the other cause has to be sought in the complex role memes had (and still have) as instruments of symbolic framing.</p> <p>As De Rycker (2018) put forth, a crisis is a human activity carried out knowingly and intentionally. Understanding the COVID-19 pandemic as a crisis, we aim to analyse quarantine memes as a participatory practice of ‘doing crisis’ – in particular, by framing its meanings and making sense of changes in everyday life.</p> <p>Quarantine memes exist in the context of uncertainty, risks and fears about people’s health, restrictions of freedom, stress and changes in daily routines. The creation of memes that emerged from this context frames the pandemic and the virus in a variety of ways, not only suggesting different points of view but also establishing norms, encouraging (dis)belief and satirically or creatively commenting on new COVID-related practices.</p> <p>Using a combination of digital ethnography and content analysis, we observed the meme-related participatory practices of quarantine memes on the most popular webpages in two countries: Russia (VKontakte) and Italy (Facebook). Temporally covering the first wave and the subsequent pandemic containment measures (February-October 2020), we distinguished a set of framing strategies that are suggested via memes by online audiences: alienation, avoidance, awareness-raising, critique, domestication, subversion, escapism and acknowledgement of emotions. Comparing and contrasting the topics and symbolic strategies that emerged in those countries, we showed that symbolic framing via memes is not a straightforward phenomenon, but a long-nuanced process in which different perceptions of the virus overlapped each other and changed through time.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-05-09T00:00:00.000+00:00Reuse and Appropriation: Remediating Digital Museum Collections and Digital Tools for a Participatory Culture in Transition<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Museums have always used different media to communicate, widen perspectives and bring new knowledge, but in the era of digital media, their various offerings are increasingly part of the media ecosystem. Our research interventions explored the possibility of reusing existing digitised material in a participatory setting. The aim was to explore the object-centred audience participatory method in digital settings. We held a series of digital and in-person workshops that invited the participants to “imagine” narratives about the provenance of the museum’s objects and journeys to Sweden in a playful and creative exploration. We could observe how the virtual workshop setting supported focused discussions, and allowed zooming, drawing and remixing of digital photographs to facilitate conversation. The workshop participants on-site worked with the museum objects on display to remediate them through photos, drawings, clay modelling, and writing down thoughts and questions about the objects on discussion postcards. The participants’ contributions were included in the virtual collection database (Carlotta), under the same collection as the other museum objects, making the remediation process circular. We argue that object-centred methods enable audience participation in digital media ecosystems both in museums and with other media makers.</p> <p>The audience’s expectations and experiences from using other media bring them to the digital museum platforms with a willingness to explore, remix and integrate.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-05-09T00:00:00.000+00:00Imparting Knowledge via Entertaining YouTube Formats. An Explorative Study of Young Media Users in Germany<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The participatory use of moving images on the Internet, e.g. on YouTube (Fuchs 2014; McMullan 2020), is one of the major trends in recent media history. YouTube is the undisputed leader of the distribution channels and in the top range of social media, although TikTok is becoming increasingly popular (MPFS 2020a, 2020b). In addition to explicitly entertainment-oriented music, comedy and how-to videos, young people use videos that impart knowledge or deal with political topics. It has already been proven that knowledge can be conveyed via YouTube and users are motivated by interest-based learning. There are also numerous offerings that are primarily geared towards entertainment, but nonetheless motivate users in a casual, rather emotional and sometimes unintentional manner to further explore certain topics. This article offers a specific example of the effects this process can have on young people watching YouTube Videos that seem primarily focused on entertainment. The presented study is based on data collected in 2019 and explains which participatory strategies for imparting knowledge via entertaining YouTube formats can be effective. The findings of this study are of fundamental importance, especially considering the COVID-19 pandemic. Remote interaction, communication, and learning have resulted in a more solitary media usage that raised new questions regarding participatory culture and learning. Can entertainment formats be part of blended learning and thus contribute to imparting knowledge despite school closures, a lack of social exchange opportunities and increased media use (in the sense of media as a window to the world for locked-down people)?</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-05-09T00:00:00.000+00:00The Mortgaged Miracle Social Stratification in Contemporary Estonian Cinema<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>According to recent OECD statistics, Estonia is the European Union country with the highest income inequalities. Among all the ex-Warsaw bloc states, the Baltic country also has the highest household debt. Despite these dire socio-economic indicators, Estonia’s path to economic development, the adaptation of the purest forms of neoliberalism to be found in Europe, is often hailed among economists. Former prime minister Mart Laar, one of the key architects of what was dubbed by some the <italic>Estonian Economic Miracle</italic>, admitted that his guideline for the post-Soviet economic reform (and the only book he read on economics) was Milton Friedman’s <italic>Free to Choose</italic>.</p> <p>How does inequality, social exclusion and growing social stratification manifest itself in Estonian contemporary cinema? The debut films of three directors, Vallo Toomla, Mihkel Ulk and Toomas Hussar, which all have a contemporary setting, address the neoliberal transformation process to various degrees. All three debut films are genre films: <italic>Mushrooming</italic> (Hussar, 2012) is a comedy, <italic>Zero Point</italic> (Ulk, 2014) a high-school drama and <italic>The Pretenders</italic> (Toomla, 2016) a thriller. None of the films directly addresses the social stratification of Estonian society. The films engage the subject with a low level of politicization, yet each of the films is a chronotope of the engagement of the film medium with society. Especially the question of individual responsibility to society, accountability for social exclusion and possible alternatives to neoliberalism are either addressed in an apprehensive way or, through their absence, deemed irrelevant. How did Friedman’s claim that economic freedom equals political freedom, that the market is the only effective tool and that self-interest is the only acceptable driving force in society affect the Estonian cinemascape? This article argues that the chronotope of contemporary cinema in the small Baltic country is an outopia, a no-place, in which alternatives to the status quo have no more reference points. The outopian outlook on society is manifested either by an absence in the belief of the integrity of politics and media (<italic>Mushrooming</italic>), by an implicit acceptance of social exclusion (<italic>Zero Point</italic>) or by the acknowledgement that faking material wealth is the only tool for maintaining social relationships (<italic>The Pretenders</italic>).</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-05-09T00:00:00.000+00:00Participatory Cultures of Digital Games: The Double-Edged Sword of Being a Reddit Community Moderator<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Volunteer community moderators are at the centre of a multitude of conflicting views in the media and society, while being continually exposed to inappropriate content and risking their mental wellbeing. On, their specific interest in a topic drives them to volunteer for moderation responsibilities to nurture the participa-tory community; however, this puts them in the uncertain position of being neither a member of the community nor a representative of the social media platform tied to the community. By adopting Nico Carpentier’s concept of participation as a site of political–ideological negotiation, this article explores the precarious conditions and expectations of community moderators around digital games after the 2020 COVID-19 struggles, with more people turning to social media, which increases demand for platform moderation. The study is based on semi-structured interviews with community moderators associated with online media communities (subreddits) of different games on the social media platform Reddit. It draws two conclusions: Firstly, the field of subreddit moderation involves multiple actors, such as content creators, content generators, moderators, and game studios. Here, moderators hold an assumed absolute power in two processes of decision-making: (1) ensure that content abides by the sitewide rules and subreddit specific rules; and (2) promote content that is sensitive to the subreddit’s cultural context. In decision-making moments, the tools that are afforded to moderators from the Reddit platform put moderators at a disadvantage, as they are forced to implement their decisions using negative reinforcement as opposed to achieving change in the subreddit through positive reinforcement. Secondly, community moderators exist within a participatory process of checks and balances, making any moderation actions a double-edged sword where any intervention by moderators can result in backlash or disagreement from content creators and content generators, and material advantages largely determine actors’ involvement in these participatory processes.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2022-05-09T00:00:00.000+00:00“What kind of cop are you?”: ’s Technologies of the Self within the Posthuman Multiverse<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>I suggest in this article, drawing upon Francesca Ferrando, Karen Barad and N Katherine Hayles, that <italic>Disco Elysium</italic> illustrates the human through the mode of a ‘posthuman multiverse’. Per Ferrando, humans and other beings act as nodes in a material multiverse while what we think, eat, our behaviours and relations, create part of a rhizomatic ecology that can be understood as who and what we are. This, I illustrate, overcomes a complicated tension in existing posthuman theory, particularly as it relates to game studies. Although theorists have detailed the entanglement of players and machines, and the new materialist nature of becoming, it is unclear to what extent human-machine assemblages can be said to be a singular ‘thing’. This is tackled in <italic>Disco Elysium</italic> as the seemingly mundane and often invisible actions the player takes, all play a role in constructing Harry Dubois and the world that is also endlessly producing him. Game actions, therefore, can be viewed as ‘technologies of the multiverse’, the ontological functions through which beings come to exist in a dimension. The game positions the player in a ‘relational intra-activity’ not only with the actions and outcomes of play, as discussed in previous scholarship, but also with the hypothetical outcomes of choices they have <italic>not</italic> made. When read through the lens of Ferrando’s philosophical posthuman multiverse, <italic>Disco Elysium</italic> represents a valuable resource for bridging gaps in contemporary posthuman scholarship.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-12-14T00:00:00.000+00:00Production of Game Making Spaces: and the game making community in Estonia<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This article discusses <italic>Disco Elysium</italic> in the context of the development of game making communities in Estonia and international production networks. Drawing on an analysis of secondary sources, in-depth interviews and a survey with game makers in Estonia, this article contributes to studies on national and regional game-production cultures. The aim of this article is two-fold. First, it contributes to studies of game production cultures by discussing the development and structure of game-making communities in Estonia. As such, it enriches the understanding of game production in Europe by providing empirical data about game making in Estonia. Second, based on the example of <italic>Disco Elysium</italic>, the article demonstrates how national, regional and international production networks contribute to the spatial politics of game production. In conclusion, this article emphasises the importance of the construction of space in game production and the asymmetries of power among game production regions.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-12-14T00:00:00.000+00:00Editorial: Special Issue on Hanged Rhizome on the Tree: Arborescence and Multiplicity in<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper looks at <italic>Disco Elysium</italic> as a model for a better understanding of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s concept of the rhizome when applied to video games. It analyses the use and implementation of the many forms of expressing multiplicity that are present in <italic>Disco Elysium</italic> and that are manifested through the configuration of the avatar, the use of the player’s choice, and representations of space and time in the game. Ultimately, this paper also serves as a coalescence of existing Game Studies scholarship on rhizomic relations, multiplicities and affect to create a common ground for future conversations on these topics.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-12-14T00:00:00.000+00:00The Object Gives Rise to Thought: Hermeneutics of Objects in<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The article presents an analysis and interpretation of <italic>Disco Elysium</italic>, an award-winning videogame published by ZA/UM studio in 2019. The main problem explored in the research concerns the ontological basis upon which the game builds the complex personality of its protagonist and his relationship with the storyworld. The main theoretical works utilized in the analysis and interpretation are Object-Oriented Ontology by Graham Harman and Existence and Hermeneutics by Paul Ricoeur. My thesis is that <italic>Disco Elysium</italic> presents time, events and history as the effects of various tensions between the protagonist and the objects. In doing so, the game offers a non-anthropocentric perspective on human being and gives rise to questions about objects as a basis for rethinking the human condition. The article concludes with the formulation of a possible new hermeneutical approach founded on Object-Oriented Ontology.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-12-14T00:00:00.000+00:00“You Won’t Even Know Who You Are Anymore”: Bakthinian Polyphony and the Challenge to the Ludic Subject in<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>When approaches to the notion of the ‘self’ as it exists in the game have been discussed in game studies – for instance, through work in existential ludology or through discussions of agency – the ‘self’ in question, explicitly or implicitly, has tended to be the rational, stable, unified and coherent self of the humanist tradition.</p> <p>By fracturing the ludic subject into a set of contrasting and conflicting voices, each with their own apparent motivations and goals, <italic>Disco Elysium</italic> presents a challenge to this singular and unified understanding of selfhood. That this challenge is situated within the representation of a figure who, at face value, seems to represent the very locus of the authoritative, self-possessed subjectivity of humanism – not only a straight, middle-aged white man, but also a figure of police and colonial authority – strengthens the game’s critical slant.</p> <p>Drawing on theories of ludic and virtual subjectivity, this paper will approach <italic>Disco Elysium</italic> with a focus on this undermining of stable and unitary understanding of subjectivity. First, the game will be considered in relation to the tradition of <italic>film noir,</italic> and the way the genre both established and subverted the figure of the detective as the avatar of stable, rational, authoritative masculine selfhood. Next, its treatment of the theme of amnesia will be considered, drawing a parallel to Jayemanne’s (2017) reading of <italic>Planescape: Torment</italic> to examine how the loss of memory creates structures of discontinuity and rupture in the represented ludic self. Finally, Bakhtinian notions of polyphony will be invoked to address the game’s plurality of different voices not (as it is usually present) in a dialogue between individual subjects but within a single, fragmented subjectivity.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-12-14T00:00:00.000+00:00 as Gothic fiction<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p><italic>Disco Elysium</italic> demonstrates many hallmarks of the Gothic through its storyline and representational elements, particularly its emphasis on the instability of its protagonist, the sense of decline and decay conveyed through its setting, and the interconnected secret histories that are revealed through exploration. Furthermore, many of the game’s stylistic and ludic features, such as its dense description and emotive language, and its overwhelming array of options, interactions, and responses, can be understood as engagements with the uncanny and disorienting excess of the Gothic tradition. These Gothic elements manifest most frequently through the game’s attempt to represent psychological complexity within its role playing system, its depictions of urban spaces, and its approach to questions of unresolved memory and history. The presence of these Gothic features in <italic>Disco Elysium</italic> work to contest the game’s categorisation as a ‘detective role playing game.’ While the genres are closely connected, detective fiction typically follows a trajectory in which the history of the central mystery becomes progressively clearer through the accumulation of information and detail, whereas the Gothic traditionally seeks to maintain and heighten a sense of disorientation. Exploring the tension between <italic>Disco Elysium</italic>’s Gothic elements and its status as a detective game allows for a richer appreciation of the political and social commentary that emerges from both its narrative and gameplay.</p> </abstract>ARTICLE2021-12-14T00:00:00.000+00:00en-us-1