Dr. Peter Krapp

Peter Krapp is Professor of Film & Media Studies at the University of California, Irvine, with research interests in media history, game studies, cultural memory, and secret communications. Publications include Deja Vu: Aberrations of Cultural Memory (2004), Noise Channels: Glitch and Error in Digital Culture (2011), Medium Cool (2002) and the Handbook Language-Culture-Communication (2013). He studied at Bonn University (supported by the Adenauer Foundation) and Stirling University (funded by the DAAD) before participating in a Graduiertenkolleg at Konstanz (funded by the DFG), and filed his PhD at UC Santa Barbara in 2000. He taught at the University of Minnesota and at Bard College before coming to UC Irvine in 2004, and held visiting professorships at UNISINOS (Brazil), the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa), and Tainan National University of Art (Taiwan).


Research Project - The Distraction Economy of Models Simulations and Games

As Senior Fellow at the federally funded Institute for Advanced Study on Media Cultures of Computer Simulation, or MECS, at Lüneburg University in Germany, the project I will pursue during my research leave is the completion of a current book project on models, games, and simulations, rooted in part in my teaching (in Informatics and in Humanities) on game studies and the history of simulations. The industry study of simulation technologies in gaming covers console games, mobile games, retro games, and virtual worlds; each chapter focuses on a point where quantitative data yield qualitative evaluations: reviews and awards in relation to sales patterns for console game development, in-game trade and governance in online gaming, the role of advertising in mobile games, the pivotal but constrained role of music in retro game aesthetics, and data mining in think tank simulations. Investigating these game industry trends pivots on a critical vocabulary for the history of simulations and virtual worlds. As advances in computer simulation have been turned to the ends of entertainment software, the project investigates historical formations in games, based on a critical framework for modeling and simulation. From war gaming to early digital computing and from flight simulators and radar screens to the affordances of immersive graphic user interfaces and control devices, the modalities of human-computer interaction distinguish simulation after 1945 from broader connotations of modeling. On this background, one can trace a critical history of computer games as art objects, cultural artifacts, and gateways to alternate realities.