Dr. Peter Nelson

Assistant Professor
Media Art, Art History, Computer Games

Peter Nelson is an art historian, game scholar and visual artist working at the intersection of computer game and landscape studies. He is engaged in a prolonged consideration of the history of landscape images, how they are remediated by technological shifts, and how these shifts absorb and reflect changes in our relationships with the physical environment. He has exhibited his artworks widely, including projects with HanArt TZ Gallery (Hong Kong), The National Palace Museum (Taiwan), The Sichuan Fine Art Academy Museum (Chongqing) and the K11 Art Foundation (Hong Kong), and is also a regular contributor to the Philosophy of Computer Games Conference, DiGRA and Chinese DiGRA, of which he is a current board member.

As a researcher in computer game studies and a practicing artist, I view myself as a specialist in landscape representation and of how visual media reveal cultural relationships with the physical environment. The accelerated use of virtual worlds as a site of social and economic activity require that art, architecture and design derive new methodologies from real-time engagement and experimentation in these participatory virtual environments. My research demonstrates how the ontological status of landscape representations in computer games cannot be understood using conventional approaches from design, art history and visual studies alone (only a player can say if a table on the screen is indeed a table or if it is functioning as something else entirely). I believe that future theory for virtual worlds will be created according to ludic principles emerging from the online swamp where large numbers of players reappropriate and re-ontologise computational entities into multistable building blocks and a new cultural language.

Crab Backup, Wellington Street Projects, Sydney, 2019.

ISEA 2019 Curated Exhibition, Art Center Nabi, Korea, 2019.

Serious Games, HOW Art Museum, Shanghai 2019

SIGGRAPH Asia Curated Exhibition, Tokyo. 2018

Liminal Encounters, The Asia Society, Hong Kong. 2018

The Emerald City, K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong. 2018

Heterotopia/On The Route, GCA Museum, Chongqing. 2018

Grids and Stones, HanArt TZ Gallery, Hong Kong 2015

Landscape Tractate, MOP Projects, Sydney 2015

New Waves of NPM, National Palace Museum, Taiwan. 2013

Encoding the Symptom or the Cause? Values in the Design and Play of Computer Games that Represent School Shootings, Proceedings of The Philosophy of Computer Games Conference, Copenhagen, 2018.

A Game Made From Other Games: Actions and Entities in Garry’s Mod, Proceedings of The Philosophy of Computer Games Conference, Krakow, 2017.

Awful Windmills: Power and Landscape, Runway, Australian Experimental Art Journal, Issue #33 Power, 2017.

Colliders with Context: Trees in First Person Computer Games, Proceedings of the Philosophy of Computer Games Conference, Malta, 2016.

Starcraft II and Chinese Scroll Painting: Narrative Ideas for RTS Computer Games, [Co-author with E. H. MacMillan], Proceedings of the International Symposium on Electronic Art, 2016.

Grottspace, Runway, Australian Experimental Art Journal, Issue #30 Ecologies, 2016.

Visiting Researcher, Games Research Unit,IT University, Copenhagen, 2018.

Student Fellow, Applied Centre for Interactive Computing, City University, Hong Kong, 2017-2018.

Chow Yei Ching School of Graduate Studies Scholarship, 2017.

Outstanding Teaching Award for Teaching Assistants, City University of Hong Kong, 2017.

Artist in residence, City of Sydney, 2014.

Career Fund Grant, The Copyright Agency, Australia, 2014.

Artist in residence, Organhaus Art Space, Chongqing, 2013.

Ian Potter Cultural Trust Grant, Australia, 2013.

Artist in residence, Taipei Artist Village, Taipei, 2013.

Artstart Grant, The Australia Council for the Arts, Australia, 2012.

Art & Australia/Credit Suisse Private Banking Contemporary Art Award, Australia, 2011.

Artist in residence, Serial Space, Sydney, 2011.

Artist in residence, Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris, 2011.

Vice Chancellor’s Excellence Scholarship, University of New South Wales, 2010.

Australian Postgraduate Award, University of New South Wales, 2010.

Artist in residence, Red Gate Gallery, Beijing, 2009.

As an educator, I draw on a wide range of academic and professional experiences to help students become independent problem solvers and critical thinkers. In an academic environment, I have taught studio workshops in architectural drawing and analogue visual media, lab-based courses in 3D modelling and animation, lecture and tutorial-based courses visual studies and computer game studies, and specialised field trip courses for new media art students in remote locations. I use my experience as a practicing artist to foster an environment of experimentation and iterative problem solving, and pay close attention to international developments in pedagogy. As the relationship between teachers and students is reshaped by developments in digital learning tools, I look forward to generating new approaches that will enrich our intellectual culture.