The CLITare is a feminist critique of the masculinist form and culture of guitar game controllers. A large plush toy covered in small pompoms, it held like a cello, with the cheek leaning against a small speaker. Players must explore the CLITar to find hidden buttons embedded between the pompons, which, when pressed, play different notes of a woman’s synthesized voice through the speaker.

About the author(s)

The CLITar was produced in the summer of 2015 by Celia Pearce in collaboration CLITlab as part of an artist’s residency at the UCLA Game Lab. The CLITlab (Collaboration for Liberation in Technology) is a student-based feminist hacking group founded by MFA student hsinyu lin. The idea for the CLITar began with with a seed of an idea: Given the masculinist character of both rock and roll guitars and guitar game controllers, what would happen if we tried to design an explicitly feminist guitar controller? The aim of the project was to create a collaborative art piece while teaching ourselves Arduino and textile crafts. The CLITar is the result of this joint effort.

Celia Pearce is a veteran game designer, author, and artist who is currently an Associate Professor of Game Design at Northeastern. She is known as both a feminist and virtual worlds scholar, as well as a game designer. Her recent game games have been produced under the mantle of Paidia Studios, founded with Northeastern MFA student Jeanie Choi. Their games have been shown at a number of festivals including Come Out & Play, Boston Festival of Independent Games and the Smithsonian Indie Arcade.

Hsinyu lin is an artist and educator who studies the modes by which internet shape and get shaped by social, cultural, economic, and political dynamics. She co-founded voidLab, a feminist collective for women, non-binary, gender nonconforming, trans and queer people to express individual identities through arts and technologies. She is the founder of the UCLA CLITlab, a student-based feminist hacking group.

CLITlab members who participated in the CLITar project included UCLA Students: Lilyan Kris, Lauren Mahon, Sofia Staab, Echo Theohar, & Amethyst Zhang.

Special Thanks to: Eddo Stern, Tyler Stefanaich, Peter Liu & Kate Parsons.

Additional resources


Paidia Studios + CLITlab/UCLA Game Lab