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What’s Sex Got to Do with it?

Recently an intense debate erupted in the print media and the blogosphere focusing on sex and sexism in the gaming culture. This discussion focused on the one-sided nature in which sex is portrayed in video games and its objectification of women. “Sex including feelings” is widely missing from all game genres. Instead there exists the strange mixture of sexy-looking women on the one hand and an absence of sex in computer games on the other. The panelists, including our current game designer in residence, Lea Schönfelder, will discuss these phenomena as well as their personal thoughts on the representation of sex in video games.

Toni Pizza is an MFA student and organizer at the NYU Game Center. She helps run the Different Games Conference, which celebrates inclusivity and diversity in game design while fostering a unique dialogue between game designers, academics, journalists and players. Toni Pizza is the co-founder of Personal Best, an event series presented by NYU Game Center, which focuses on contemporary feminist game design practices.

Nina Freeman
is a programmer and a game designer. She is currently working on an M.S. in Integrated Digital Media at NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering, with a focus on game design. She is interested in gender, sexuality and narrative in games. Her game "Ladylike” received an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Independent Games Festival. Nina Freeman is one of the co-founders of The Code Liberation Foundation (CLF), an organization that offers free development workshops in order to facilitate the creation of video game titles by women. She currently teaches a CLF C++ game development course for high school girls.

Franziska Zeiner
is a game designer and curator. She is currently pursuing her MFA in game design at the NYU Game Center. In 2013 she curated the exhibition What’s Your Spiel? for Deutsches Haus at NYU, which featured the work of five independent game developers from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Daniel von Bothmer
, born in Bremen in the north of Germany in 1983, studies at the School of Art and Design in Kassel, Germany. His work, which includes comics, animated movies, paintings, installations and sculptures, alternates between preposterous elements and realism, between proposition and a specific purpose and often features a pinch of fine humor. He says: "Everything is reality, and that's only half of the truth.“ In 2012 Daniel von Bothmer became a member of the scholarship program of the German National Academic Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes), Germany’s largest organization sponsoring outstanding and academically gifted students.

Lea Schönfelder is the current artist-in-residence at Deutsches Haus at NYU. Her work deals with questions surrounding ethics and everyday experiences and in turn has sparked a public debate. The Russian Duma discussed banning Lea Schönfelder's game “Ulitsa Dimitrova” from a Russian audience and the funding of “Ute” was prevented as a result of its controversial subject matter (for a game). Schönfelder's work has been shown and awarded internationally at events like the Tokyo Game Show and at the Game Art Festival in Los Angeles. She has served as a speaker, curator and jury-member to game events like the Independent Games Festival in San Francisco or the FMX in Stuttgart.

Thank you to Lufthansa for their generous support in providing flights for our panelists.

Events at Deutsches Haus are free of charge. Please let us know you would like to attend this event by sending us an email to deutscheshaus.rsvp@nyu.edu as well. Space at Deutsches Haus is limited, please arrive ten minutes prior to the event.