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).
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