- Play and Performance in Civic Space
- Reframing Learning and Mobile
- Play and real-world social change
Play and real-world social change
- Observations on play, player/subject positioning, and social change
- Observations on play, motivation, and social change
This discussion section situates games and play within a conversation about non-fiction storytelling, civic motivations, ethics, and anti-oppression principles. Drawing on the interviews of several creators of the projects in this report, the focus is on location-sensitive and hybrid games and platforms that merge virtual and real-world play with engagement structures and the potential for direct civic action.
As Benjamin Stokes suggests in his Reframing Learning and Mobile discussions, learning is inherent in games because, if for no other reason, the rules need to be learned and the play system effectively navigated by the player in a way that hopefully provides some degree of pleasurable challenge. It follows that when games are contextual to real-world spaces, their learning ties directly with how we move through, relate with, and affect these spaces. In other words, as individual players, we are required to reflect upon our own place in the world and its systems, our own movement, behavior and assumptions, as well as society’s norms. It is with such a reflective anti-oppressive ethical and metacognitive framework that games can be a powerful asset in the struggle towards closing the “power gap” between those who experience oppression and those who hold greater social privileges.
Equally relevant is the remaining leg of this “tripod”: Jeff Watson’s discussions on Play and Performance in Civic Space and the historical connections he forges between games, art, and interventions in urban space. This historical trajectory includes threading the ways in which several participatory traditions of art practice such as Surrealism, Dada, Fluxus, and Situationism, inform a particular zeitgest in game design very much alive today. These games often include physical enactment that takes place in the streets and argue for the potential of this playful performativity constituting reflection – if not direct intervention – on everyday culture. Some of the projects in this report serve as literal exemplars of social change interventions, while others are less obvious and directed; all offer unique perspectives and solutions.
- Global Exhange. (2006). Anti-Oppression Reader. Retrieved from http://www.seac.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/AO_Reader_2007.pdf
Susana Ruiz is a PhD candidate in Media Arts and Practice at the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. She is a media artist, designer and scholar working in the intersections between art, game design, activism, documentary and ethics.
Articles in this section[cptr]