Digital Arts and New Media: MFA: Collaboration, Innovation, Social Impact

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Deirdra "Squinky" Kiai: Well, This is Awkward...

Deirdra ‘Squinky’ Kiai "Well, This is Awkward..."

“Well, This Is Awkward…” consists of two playable digital media experiences: “Coffee: A Misunderstanding”, a mobile device-assisted, audience participatory interactive play about internet acquaintances meeting in person, and “Interruption Junction”, a one-button arcade game about interrupting people in group conversations. Both games give players mediated interactive narrative spaces in which to experience different kinds of comedically uncomfortable social interactions. Blending light-hearted absurdity and silliness with a clear understanding of the harsh realities of everyday oppression, these games aim to be relatable and cathartic to marginalized audiences traditionally overlooked by the mainstream commercial games industry.

Deirdra ‘Squinky’ Kiai is a writer, programmer, musician, and visual artist who creates videogame-like artifacts about gender identity, social awkwardness, and miscellaneous silliness. Recently recognized as part of Forbes’s “30 under 30 in Games”, they are currently completing an MFA in Digital Arts and New Media at UC Santa Cruz. Video by Dani Williamson.