rePLAYCE:theCITY How does physical and social space change when the city is turned into a playground?

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trans4mator / Gessnerallee Zürich / Zurich University of the Arts
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Interdisciplinary conference in Zurich (Theaterhaus Gessneralle, November 7 – 9 2013.

rePLAYCE:theCITY discusses different aspects of game and play in relation to our everyday life in the city in order to elucidate how games and play may change the way we understand, live in, read and experience cities.

The city has long been conceptualised as a playground. From Baudelaire's flâneur in the 19th century, to Situationists International in the 20th century and to the 21st century's Parkour. What these approaches have in common is the emphasis on play as a ludic behaviour that may inspire encounters, question normalities and break the routine and everyday way of viewing the city.

With the emergence of mobile technologies, as well as the pervasiveness of the Internet, cities are transformed into technological playgrounds, in which ludic behaviour occurs in combination of the physical and the digital. Mobile technologies function as interfaces that structures the ludic behaviour through rules and informational networks dictating what can and cannot be done during gameplay. The difference between game (formal, structured, driven towards an objective) and play (informal, unstructured, open-ended) becomes relevant here. On the one hand, the game is in this context seen as a structure that provides a "safety net" of rules and social contracts that enable play. It is the open design that sets the stage for ludic human experience.
On the other hand, the game is seen as a focussed and closed structure that impedes play by being bound to a specific way of problem solving with a predictable resolution. Thus, the game risks being prone to recuperation by governments and market forces for specific economic, social and/or commercial ends.

These positive and negative aspects of game and play in relation to our everyday life in the city will be discussed in three main panels: Playing Public, Playing Place and Playing Power. The conference combines theoretical inputs (re-flect), presentations of practical works in the field (re-present) and games/workshops (re-play) in order to cover the broad variety of approaches and perspectives to game and play within these contexts.

Contributors and keynotes include game-developer Eric Zimmerman, philosopher Robert Pfaller, FutureEverything director Drew Hemment, Matt Adams from Blast Theory, PAN studio for experience design, media group BITNIK, game collectives Invisible Playground and machina Ex and many more!

The conference language will be in English.

The conference is organized by trans4mator in collaboration with Gessnerallee Zürich as well as: Institute for Design Research, Interaction Design, Public City and CAST (Zurich University of the Arts), and supported by Department of Design & MA trans (Zurich University of the Arts), Pro Helvetia and Kultur Stadt Zürich.

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