December 15, 2023

On new forms of solitude (Congress in Trento)

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Earlier this December, Prof. Stefano Gualeni keynoted (in Italian) a national congress on the theme of 'On new forms of solitude' (Le nuove solitudini) in Trento, Italy.

His talk, titled 'Il Bambino e l'Acqua Sporca' (the baby and the bath water) focused on the potential threats that digital gaming poses to contemporary society as well as its desirable effects, foregrounding the need to take a wider and more balanced approach to understand our relationships with virtual worlds and our virtual selves (in line with what he discussed with Dr. Daniel Vella in their recent book Virtual Existentialism [Palgrave 2020])

Here is the abstract for his talk:

THE BABY AND THE BATH WATER, an existential reflection on digital games: Starting from a couple of ideas that I borrowed from Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980), my aims to stimulate reflections on the precious contributions that video games have to offer to contemporary society. Without ignoring the dissatisfactions and dangers arising from this (relatively new) medium, I will try to identify its undeniable (and profoundly desirable) existential and transformative value. The work of the German philosopher Eugen Fink (1905-1975) will be particularly useful in distinguishing the desirable effects of the gaming experience from the proverbial dirty water.

During his keynote, Prof. Gualeni also hinted at the imminent launch of his new book (and his first in Italian, his mother tongue). This book, disclosing the last ten years of his academic investigation in the philosophical and transformative use of virtual worlds (and game worlds alike) to a wide and non-academic audience, will be out this spring with Italian publisher Time0 ( The title of the book will be IL VIDEOGIOCO DEL MONDO (the videogame of the world, see image below).

Below, find the program of the event, which also includes Prof. Riccardo Fassone (University of Turin), long time collaborator of the Institute of Digital Games!

THE CONGRESS (a quick description of the event):

In recent years, thanks to the increasingly widespread dissemination of video games and the boom in the gaming industry, more and more girls and boys experience the world of video games as a genuine space for growth and socialization. Young people dedicate a significant amount of their time to this activity, often deemed useless or even harmful by the adult world. This national congress aims to analyze the world of video games, understanding its operation and exponential development in recent years, emphasizing not only the negative aspects but also the potentialities. Data related to the use of video games and the spread of the phenomenon will be presented, including references to school dropout rates in secondary schools. The goal is to examine the correlations with phenomena such as NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training) and school dropout, among others.


9:00 – 10:15
Il bambino e l’acqua sporca: una riflessione esistenziale sul videogioco con Stefano Gualeni

10:15 – 11:30
Situazioni di disagio del mondo giovanile: abbandono scolastico, neet, hikikomori, gaming con Giulia Tomasi

12:00 – 13:00
Il gaming e le sfide del mondo digitale: tra connessione e solitudine (ESPAD 2022) a cura di Silvia Biagioni

14:30 – 16:00
Il gioco e la macchina. Riflessioni sul gioco digitale con Riccardo Fassone

16:00 – 17:30
Videogiochi nell’era della dopamina: slot machines e opere d’arte con Gabriele Marchi