[ISEA2011] Panel: Mark But­ler – Play­ful Po­ten­tial: A Short Ge­neaol­ogy of Ludic In­ter­faces

Panel Statement

Panel:  Interface Play: Media Environments for Ludic Cyborgs

This paper will look at the de­vel­op­ment of dig­i­tal cul­ture and the role of the ludic therein, using par­a­dig­matic ex­am­ples from the his­tory of pro­gram­ma­ble media. From the be­gin­ning, the de­vel­op­ment of per­sonal com­put­ing and its in­ter­faces has shown play­ful char­ac­ter­is­tics. A ge­neaol­ogy of play­ful in­ter­ac­tion can be re­con­structed from the de­vel­op­ment of Space­war! by the early com­puter hack­ers at M.I.T. through the re­search done at in­sti­tu­tions such as Xerox PARC and Stan­fords Aug­men­ta­tion Re­search Cen­ter up to con­tem­po­rary com­put­ing cul­ture. In re­con­struct­ing this de­vel­op­ment, the paper will take a crit­i­cal look at lu­do­log­i­cal con­cepts and their ap­plic­a­bil­ity to dig­i­tal media cul­ture. Is it still apt to speak of the homo lu­dens (Huizinga) or is the term “ludic cy­borg” (Adamowsky) more ap­pro­pri­ate? Can play space be clearly de­mar­cated or framed, as clas­si­cal play the­o­reti­cians would have it, or has it be­come so de­ter­ri­to­ri­al­ized in con­tem­po­rary cul­ture with its al­ter­nate and aug­mented re­al­ity games, time-con­sum­ing on­line game worlds and full-body ki­naes­thetic in­ter­ac­tion that we need to re­think our con­cepts? And is the strict dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion be­tween work and play that we have in­her­ited from the 19th cen­tury still help­ful in com­ing to terms with the cur­rent cul­tural sit­u­a­tion at the be­gin­ning of the new mil­le­nium?

  • 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).

Full text (PDF) p. 305-309