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Ross Bochnek - THATCamp Games 2013

Ross  Bochnek


I hold an MFA in Design and Technology from Parsons School of Design, with dual concentrations in Multimedia and Embedded Computing. My BFA from Ithaca College is in Film, Photography, and Visual Arts. I am interested in presenting my photographs in ways that call attention to the illusion of dimensions through perspective, planes, shadows, and custom framing. Other media I employ include video projection, installation, performance, sculpture, lighting and set design.

My blog at www.rehumanzing.us defines Technology through its relationship to Artists, Designers, and Educators. It explores the etymology and humanism intended by, and inherent to, the creation of the terms Robot, Cybernetics, and Cyborg. I have lead workshops relating them to Ancient concepts of Body, Soul, and Spirit in "Techne Alchemy" at the Sonic Bloom Festival, and "The Alchemy of Cyborg" at the International Alchemy Conference. My paper on the Cybernetics of Cybernetics was reference material for the American Society of Cybernetics annual conference, and my article on Cyborg Esoterica is scheduled for publication in the Alchemy Journal. I have also presented at Dorkbot SoCal, BarCamp LA, MobileCamp LA, and Maker Faires in San Mateo, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

I am a Midwest representative and Forum Administrator for Wasteland Weekend, which is an immersive 4-day Post-Apocalytic-themed desert festival. Inspired by media like Mad Max films and Fallout video games, participants gather together as Tribes to camp, party, barter, create, and compete. Reuse and recycling of materials and a revival and preservation of handmade techniques yield practical and decorative clothes, armor, melee weapons, vehicles, campsites, props, and often taken-for-granted equipment and amenities. This raises participants' consciousness about our reliance on mass-produced consumer goods and empathy of the pre-industrialized "third world" that constitutes daily reality for many of Earth's current inhabitants.

  • Cybership 370 BC : Designing a Tabletop Metagame


    Plato was the first documented author to use the Kybernetes as a metaphor for city-states and humans to make Just laws and decisions.  “Cyber” has become a Modern, mainstream media buzzword, and its Ancient origins may surprise and enlighten you.  “Cybership 370 BC” is currently under development as a Humanities game that teaches “Cyber” etymology and Platonic Philosophy.  The words Cybernetique, Cybernetics, and Cyberspace are each based on only one of three related roles of their namesake: the Ancient Greek Kybernetes.  “Cybership 370 BC” highlights these 3 roles of the Kybernetes; ship Navigator, Commander, and Steersman; along with the study of feedback among these roles and the ship’s crew.

    It is also a meta-game to teach other game designers about the origins of Cybernetics as a study of feedback in systems.  The design choices of Tabletop gameplay and an Ancient Greek naval Trireme ship as the game’s setting reinforce the lesson that concepts such as Cyber-, Cybernetics, and Technology are not dependent on tools, electronics, wires, or gears.  The contrast between the ancient roots and the relatively recent allusion of the game’s title to a futuristic setting, reinforces the irony of misappropriation of “Cyber” in linguistics.  The relationship between people, knowledge, and tools in Technology, Epistemology, and their sources in the Ancient Greek concepts techne and episteme, further shows the common misappropriation and contemporary connotations underlying “Technology” and “Information Technology”.

    The basic goal of the session is communicating the roles of the Kybernetes and feedback among their crew members; presenting the origins of Cybernetics to game scholars and creators.  As a Work-In-Process, potential game mechanics under consideration include dice, cards, board, roleplaying, and turns.

    Ross Bochnek is the first researcher/author to present “Cyber” so holistically, and his paper “The ‘True Pilot’ Of Cybernetics became a resource for American Society for Cybernetics (ASC) 2011 Annual Conference.  You can read it and more via his blog www.rehumanizing.us  Ross will be developing this game and accepting advice about it throughout the weekend.  The possibilities offered by presenting original research, both as in-development and playable games, have their own merits for study in many Education and Communications fields.