From roots in aesthetic philosophy (Nelson Goodman) and science fiction/fantasy writing (J.R.R. Tolkien), the concept of world-building has become a core concept across many design fields in the 21st century an aesthetic response to the complexities of a multidisciplinary and networked society, a means of creating content that serves the demands of transmedia entertainment. Both the brainstorming process of world-building and the worlds that emerge from that process have become sources of entertainment and education in their own right. In this opening panel, we are bringing together some key thinkers who will share with us their thoughts about:
Why world-building has gained such interest at the current moment?
What are some of the ways that world-building is being deployed for entertainment and education purposes at the moment?
What processes best support the design and development of multimedia worlds?
What they see as some of the most powerful examples of media worlds today?
What’s new about today’s fascination with world-building and how it relates to older models of speculative fiction?
And what connections do they see between world-building and the emergence of immersive and expansive media environments?
Ann Pendleton-Jullian - Architect and Professor, Ohio State University and Georgetown University
Alex Rivera - Writer and Director, Sleep Dealer
Brenda Romero - Director of Games and Playable Media Programs, UC Santa Cruz
Michael Saler - Professor of History, UC Davis, Author of As If: Modern Enchantment and the Literary Prehistory of Virtual Reality
Moderated by Henry Jenkins, USC