Generation ZX(X)

by Mona Bozdog

Trailer by Jaimini Jethwa

Generation ZX(X)

A hybrid, mixed-reality performance in Dundee, Scotland

For the second project, Generation ZX(X), I worked with third year Games and Arts students and staff from Abertay University to develop a series of video games, augmented walks and a performance, all exploring narrative configurations in and across physical and virtual environments. The project engaged with the living memory and heritage of the TIMEX factory in Dundee, and its aim was to reclaim and rewrite the history of the charged site on Harrison Road and to challenge the ‘official’ history of the local games industry. Two of the games: She-Town and Assembly were developed by the student team under the supervision of Dr. Dayna Galloway and myself, whereas for Breaking out of the Frame I worked with fellow Abertay GameLab members Niall Moody and Kayleigh MacLeod. The ZX Spectrum computers were manufactured in the Timex factory by a skilled female workforce. The ZX Spectrum has been highly influential in the careers of many developers across the UK while the labour behind it has remained mostly invisible. Similar to Inchcolm Project, Generation ZX(X) took the shape of a public event which invited the audience/players to explore the site and its history through different modes of engagement. The audience/players discovered the designed and natural sensory-scapes of Camperdown Park by exploring the park together, they engaged with the oral histories of the women who worked in the factory, they performed conviviality and community as they played together the three games installed at the factory, they witnessed the gender politics of Timex by watching an archival projection of women working on the assembly line under the scrutiny of men in positions of power, and they listened as some of the city’s lead game developers acknowledged the women’s labour and its impact on the their careers and the industry. The final musical performance brought back to the factory women’s singing as three women choirs performed Women o Dundee by Sheena Wellington (1990). 

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