Machinima-themed Journal of Visual Culture

At our Play-Machinima-Law conference the idea for a machinima-themed edition of the scholarly Journal of Visual Culture from SAGE Publications was proposed. A team of editors from Stanford University Libraries (Matteo Bittanti, Susan Rojo and Henry Lowood) took the idea and ran. We approached a number of the speakers from the conference as well as other practitioners and observers of machinima scenes that we thought had something of interest to say about machinima. We wanted to hear a variety of voices from the extended machinima community. The goal was not to necessarily promote machinima, but to produce ideas about it.
The enthusiastic response to our inquiry was encouraging! The majority of the folks we asked joined the project: Marque Cornblatt, Frank R. Dellario, J. Joshua Diltz, Jun Falkenstein, Kate Fosk, Douglas Gayeton, Clint Hackleman, Hugh Hancock, Tracy Harwood, Mizuko Ito, Robert Jones, Friedrich Kirschner, Kari Kraus, Henry Lowood, Mark Methenitis, Robert F. Nideffer, Michael Nitsche, and Eddo Stern. With a spirit of experimentation and play we invited these participants to answer all or a select number of questions from the questionnaire we provide (see below). If that approach didn’t resonate with them, we invited them to craft a response that was spurred on by, or was in a way of their choosing in conversation with or against any or all of the questions. The end result, as expected, displays the wide diversity of expectations, experiences and perspectives within the machinima world.
‘Questionnaire on Machinima as Visual Culture’

1.    Does machinima align itself with other contemporary media in being open to anyone as a contributor?  Is it a visual medium that could only occur in the age of YouTube?
2.    Is machinima bringing real innovation in the field of visual culture? How is this medium contributing to the democratization of production and distribution of ideas in an increasingly connected society?
3.    Do you expect that real-time animated movie-making – machinima – will exert a long-term influence over visual culture? What is the future of machinima? Will it remain a niche pursuit? Will people still be talking about it (or something like it) in fifty years?
4.    As we spend more time in “virtual” spaces, is there a need for a new documentary medium to record our experiences in those spaces?  Is that medium machinima?
5.    Does machinima have the potential to make a tangible impact on the political landscape in the sense that it gives anyone and everyone a voice through this new outlet for expression?  Or does it require too much effort to make or to understand to have this sort of widespread influence? How has machinima affected the domain of politics thus far?
6.    Is appreciation of machinima too closely bound to game culture to expand its reach into other areas of visual culture? Is it simply a form of free advertising for game companies glorified as user-generated content? Can we draw the line between promotion and creative expression? What role does brand recognition play? 
7.    What makes a piece of machinima "art"? How do the choices made by the creators of machinima influence whether their work is considered artistic or culturally important? What are the trademarks of culturally relevant machinima? Is there anything intrinsic to the artifact itself or the notion of "artistic machinima" that is simply a social construct? 
8.    Specific iconic images, scenes, and encounters from machinima stay with us. Which, if any that you have experienced have had the most visual, critical, satirical or politically motivating impact, and why?

The table of contents is listed below and links to the essays can be found at: The Journal of Visual Culture is a subscription based journal but SAGE Publications occasionally opens the subscription gates and allows free access for a period of time. Announces about free access are made on the blog associated with this website.
A ‘Different Technical Approach’? Introduction to the Special Issue on Machinima
Tracy Harwood: Towards a Manifesto for Machinima Michael Nitsche: A Look Back at Machinima’s Potential
Friedrich Kirschner: Machinima’s Promise
Kate Fosk: Machinima is Growing Up
Hugh Hancock: Machinima: Limited, Ghettoized, and Spectacularly Promising
Clint Hackleman: Where Were You the Day Onyxia Died?
Eddo Stern: Massively Multiplayer Machinima Mikusuto
Mizuko Ito: Machinima in a Fanvid Ecology
J. Joshua Diltz: journal of visual culture: Digital Voices
Robert Jones: Does Machinima Really Democratize?
Robert F. Nideffer: Eight Questions (and Answers) about Machinima
Marque Cornblatt: Censorship as Criticism: Performance Art and Fair Use in Virtual Territory
Mark Methenitis: Opportunity and Liability: The Two Sides of Machinima
Jun Falkenstein: Machinima as a Viable Commercial Medium
Frank R. Dellario: The Future of Machinima as a Professional Animation Resource and its Growth as Real-Time Animation in Virtual Worlds
Douglas Gayeton: Molotov Alva’s Further Adventures: A Conversation Which Could’ve Happened (But Never Did)
Kari Kraus: ‘A Counter-Friction to the Machine’: What Game Scholars, Librarians, and Archivists Can Learn from Machinima Makers about User Activism
Henry Lowood: Perfect Capture: Three Takes on Replay, Machinima and the History of Virtual Worlds