Close reading Irrational Games’s 2013 BioShock Infinite to consider how notions of the wild circulate at the site of the both absent and present Indian, this essay argues that the ontological turn in technology studies is predicated on the juridical, racial, gendered, and colonial violences enacted in the spaces between the civil and the savage, the beast and the human. The recent ascendancy of object-oriented theory within videogame studies along with the object-oriented coding languages used to construct those games raises questions about structures, systems, and sovereignty at the site of interpretation and methodology. By placing videogame studies into critical conversation with critiques of ongoing settler colonialism, this essay suggests that settler colonial governance and racial capitalism persist in the spaces between representation and play. By drawing upon recent conversations in queer theory and critical indigenous studies, this essay offers some preliminary insights into the nature of sovereignty and the discourses of colonialism that continue to be informed by the presence of indigenous peoples within the philosophical precepts and ontological givens of code and software.
Jodi A. Byrd; Beast of America: Sovereignty and the Wildness of Objects. South Atlantic Quarterly 1 July 2018; 117 (3): 599–615. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00382876-6942183
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