What/Who is playing Cyborg: An investigation of the ‘Gamer’ as a figure – Prabhash Ranjan Tripathy

Abstract: The current talk is an exploration into the question as to whether the gamer figure that emerged in India in the 1990s can be thought of as a cyborg and if so, then what kind of cyborg is the gamer? Can one think of the gamer-cyborg as a posthuman liberatory figure or is the gamer-cyborg still all too human?

The intent of the paper in asking these questions and problematizing the figure of the Gamer is to launch an investigation into the more pressing question that one encounter in the wake of the cyber/information-turn, that is, how does one contemplate, comprehend, and articulate the ‘new’ in the identities that are formed and acquired with the advent of what has been identified as the cyber/information turn in culture? Can the connection between biological and technological be the sole basis for considering figurations like the Gamer as something new? Can they be thought of as a new subjectivity, a new politics, a new relationship to power? Is this ‘new’ democratic, free of discrimination and based on an egalitarian principle or is the ‘new’ an optimization of old and existing structures and modes of oppression?

Bio: Prabhash Ranjan Tripathy was born in Odisha, India. He completed his B.A. (Hons) English, M.A. in English literature and M.A. in Comparative Indian Literature from University of Delhi. He is currently a PhD scholar at the school of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Has submitted his MPhil dissertation titled ‘Playing Cyborg: A study of the Gamer in the Videogame Parlours of Delhi and Mussoorie’, following which was a doctoral fellow at the International Research Centre “Interweaving Performance Cultures” and is currently working on his PhD dissertation titled ‘Between WorkStation and PlayStation: The Cultural Location of Videogames in India’. Interest areas include Superhero comic books, Anime, Video Games, Combat Sports, and Mythology. He is fascinated by felines and loves to trek, read, write, click and play.

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