culture

Temple Bar, Dublin
May 19, 2013

Colourful Dublin: A Tour in Pictures

I adore Dublin. I’m not sure whether it is the excellent food, large selection of Irish trad sessions to attend, or the gregarious Irish nature, but I have always felt comfortable here (I also look/am Irish by ancestry, so I can easily fit right into the crowd). One cannot walk along Dame Street, Grafton Street, or Temple Bar without encountering the smell of delicious pastries wafting down the street,1 a busker attempting to make a few bucks on a tinwhistle or fiddle, or the sound of Irish trad music (i.e. “The Wild Irish Rover”) seeping out from the many pubs, cafés, and other venues.

My week was packed with work at the Old Library in Trinity College Dublin (where they also house the Book of Kells) and exploration of this lovely city. I visited a few of the tourist spots, including the amazing Chester Beatty Library, the National Library of Ireland, and the Dublin Zoo, but otherwise spent much of my time wandering the streets of Dublin or playing my whistle at a real Irish trad session (if you are interested in listening to a true session, go to Cobblestone Pub, Hughes, or O’Donoghues, which are all located within walking distance in the city centre). I believe meandering is one of the best ways to truly experience a city and Dublin is no exception. While walking the many streets and attractions, I realized just how colourful Dublin is, and perhaps this vibrancy acts as a way to mitigate Dublin’s typically cold, rainy weather. Buildings and Georgian doors, as you will see, are often painted bright pinks, yellows, and red. The graffiti littering the many buildings could be considered highly skilled works of art. The parks, gardens, and greenery juxtapose the cobbled medieval streets, and the city centre illuminates at night. Paris may be called the “City of Lights,” but Dublin also seems to come alive at dusk in a spectacle of lights, sounds, and tastes. This post is a tribute to Dublin. I’ve snapped fifty photographs that attempt to capture the moods and colours of this fair city— its heart, people, weather, and history. I really enjoyed photographing and putting this collection together and hope to return to Dublin soon.

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  1. If you are in Dublin, be sure to check out The Queen of Tarts for some delectable pastries. []
Jack Russell Terrier playing with a ball, image from Wikimedia Commons
April 26, 2013

Do Animals Play Games?

I recently received comments on a piece of writing I had submitted that, like all good peer reviewer feedback, has enabled me to re-examine some of my assumptions (about game culture in particular). Two questions the reviewer raised were: “What is particular about the relation of games to culture?”  and“Could we say that games are designed to resist attributions of significance?”

For me, the keywords here are culture and designed. While the questions themselves lay outside the scope of the work, I believe they nevertheless sit at the heart of many curiosities about games; they not only question the cultural relevance of games, but also their very fabrication. Game scholars oftentimes state that games are products of cultural expression, for this belief stems from an understanding of games as meaning-making systems, which inherently incorporate strict behavioural models. Do games truly stem from culture? Do they portray signs of signification?

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