The Interactive Gaze – On the Status and Ethics of Surveillance Images in Digital Games


The aim of the project is to develop a framework for the ethical assessment of digital surveillance images by way of qualitative and quantitative analyses of surveillance images in digital games. Surveillance images are central to the formation of cultural and social discourses about the technologies, functions, and legitimacy of surveillance. Due to their popularity and their active involvement of the player, digital games play a particularly important role in shaping surveillance habits and mentalities. The project will analyze these mechanisms with conceptual tools and methods borrowed from aesthetics, visual semiotics, cultural analytics and digital humanities. The central goals of the projects are 1) the systematic analysis of the state of surveillance images in digital games, 2) the ethical reflection of problematic aspects, and 3) the discussion of the research results with the academic community and the wider public as well as their application in political education. The project not only adds to the study of the visual aesthetics of digital games, but also provides an informed basis for an ethical framework that can serve game designers and other practitioners in their goal to create an alternative imagery of surveillance. Furthermore, the project contributes to image theory by focusing on the ideologies and semantics that are (re)produced by means of ludic and interactive types of images. 


Dr. Martin Hennig, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

Dr. Wulf Loh, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

Dr. Markus Spöhrer, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen

Theresa Krampe, Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen