Mondo Nano: Fun Games in the World of Digital Matter

Colin Milburn
UC Davis

This project examines the relationship between video games and the globalization of nanotechnology. Today, the field of nanotechnology makes bold claims on the futures market and the future of the planet. It promises to turn matter into software, enabling us to reprogram our material environments and hack our lived realities. To be sure, the slogan of the nanotechnology industry is “shaping the world atom by atom.” My project focuses on the cultural dimensions of digital matter. Specifically, I show how video games and the ludic practices of our innovation economy reconfigure the experimental systems of science. I also claim that fictional “nano” games–which are produced all over the world and translated across many different hardware platforms–provide players with important conceptual resources for navigating the implications of the new molecular sciences.