[ISEA2011] Panel: Mark But­ler (moderator) – Interface Play: Media Environments for Ludic Cyborgs

Panel Statement

Chair Per­son: Mark But­ler, Pre­sen­ters: Georg Russeg­ger, Al­i­son Gaz­zard, Moisés Mañas         Car­bonell, María José Martínez de Pisón Ramón & Athana­sia Daphne Drag­ona

This panel of the Ludic In­ter­faces Re­search Group (L.I.R.G.) re­volves around the cur­rent state of re­search into ludic in­ter­faces, i.e. play­ful in­ter­ac­tion spaces, a term that was coined at ISEA2007 and ISEA2008. It will give a work­ing de­f­i­n­i­tion of this core con­cept that is the ker­nel of a new re­search field, map out its de­vel­op­ment and pre­sent state of the art hy­pothe­ses.  The premise of L.I.R.G. is that in­ter­face in­no­va­tions and their prop­a­ga­tion – one only needs to re­mem­ber the ge­neal­ogy of graph­i­cal user in­ter­faces – have their roots in play­ful­ness. Ludic in­ter­faces are con­crete, sit­u­ated in­ter­faces in which the play­ful po­ten­tial in­her­ent in all in­ter­faces man­i­fests it­self. This po­ten­tial stems from the fact that all in­ter­faces are by de­f­i­n­i­tion in­ter­me­di­ary zones that exist be­tween het­ero­ge­neous di­men­sions. This is es­pe­cially true with re­gards to com­puter-based in­ter­faces. Play po­tency is an es­sen­tial qual­ity of the dig­i­tal medium. Not only can it, given the nec­es­sary in­ter­face pro­to­col, con­nect any­thing to any­thing else;  every­thing also be­comes highly mal­leable once it is trans­lated into bi­nary code. Ludic in­ter­faces un­leash the pro­tean pos­si­bil­ity space in­her­ent in pro­gram­ma­ble media. They stand in con­trast to straight in­ter­faces: in­ter­face so­lu­tions that are solely used for a clearly de­fined, util­i­tar­ian pur­pose and tele­o­log­i­cal goal; de­signed from the be­gin­ning to di­rectly en­able the ful­fill­ment of  pro­posed aims, with­out de­vi­a­tions. Ludic in­ter­faces, in con­trast, have a patch­work of mo­ti­va­tional vec­tors that opens up a pos­si­bil­ity space  filled with myr­iad paths lead­ing to­ward goals that don’t have to be clearly de­fined. In short: The panel is in­ter­ested in the mo­ment of in­ven­tion, the mo­ment when the in­ter­ac­tion be­comes play­ful and the in­ter­face a game, and how it can be mo­bi­lized for cre­ative strate­gies.        creativegames.org.uk/LUDICI/masters

  • Mark But­ler is a cul­tural sci­en­tist, fu­tur­ol­o­gist, and the Sci­en­tific Man­ager of the re­search and de­vel­op­ment pro­ject Ludic In­ter­faces at the In­sti­tute of Art and Media at the Pots­dam Uni­ver­sity, Germany. He has worked ex­ten­sively on the cul­ture of com­puter game-play­ing and is cur­rently com­plet­ing his Ph.D. on play­ful tech­niques of the self. As a doc­toral mem­ber of the Sci­ence & Tech­nol­ogy Re­search Group of the Daim­ler AG (2004-2008) he has un­der­took fu­ture-ori­ented re­search on wo/man-ma­chine-in­ter­faces. He is a found­ing ed­i­tor of the peer-re­viewed jour­nal ilinx – Berliner Beiträge zur Kul­tur­wis­senschaft and a mem­ber of the Dig­i­tal Games Re­search Net­work. Re­cent pub­li­ca­tions in­clude the mono­graph Would you like to play a game? Die Kul­tur des Com­pu­tr­erspie­lens (2007) as well the fol­low­ing pa­pers: „Be­com­ing Zerg. The ma­chinic em­bod­i­ment of the Star­Craft player“ (2011) and „On Re­al­ity and Sim­u­la­tion in an Extra Moral Sense. The Play­ful Logic of Life and Death in Lib­erty City“ (2010).