Re-Con­quer­ing the Gam­i­fied City: An Old Bat­tle on a New Urban Ground


Session Title:

  • Interface Play: Media Environments for Ludic Cyborgs

Presentation Title:

  • Re-Con­quer­ing the Gam­i­fied City: An Old Bat­tle on a New Urban Ground




  • Panel:  Interface Play: Media Environments for Ludic Cyborgs

    Have we re­ally en­tered the era of gam­i­fi­ca­tion and what does this new no­tion imply for the urban en­vi­ron­ment? Im­ages of new ad­ven­tur­ous cities have ap­peared, de­scribed as net­worked game­spaces of­fer­ing ex­cite­ment, fun and so­cial­iz­ing to cizitens that seem to be full of en­ergy and de­sire for chal­lenges, re­wards and sta­tus. The magic cir­cle has ex­panded to a ludic urban ter­rain that goes be­yond any prior ex­pec­ta­tion. There is no longer an out­side as all is dif­fused in­ter­con­nected and ac­ces­si­ble at the same time. By fol­low­ing new rules of a hy­brid game­play, the city awaits to be tagged, ap­pro­pri­ated and en­joyed. Roles can not only be taken but also gen­er­ated and mod­i­fied by in­hab­i­tants them­selves. But is this a new cel­e­bra­tion for a gam­ing gen­er­a­tion or an un­for­tu­nate ludic deca­dence?

    Are play­ers being un­der­es­ti­mated in this new con­di­tion? What­ever hap­pened to the dig­i­tal play­ful mul­ti­tude whose po­ten­tial­i­ties are the very core of today’s urban and dig­i­tal wealth? The new sup­po­si­tion of gam­i­fi­ca­tion is bring­ing back once again the old bat­tle be­tween game and play, be­tween con­straints and free­dom, be­tween con­ven­tions and an­ar­chy, be­tween areas that are being com­mod­i­fied and areas that be­come com­mon. A new call for ac­tive play­ers there­fore emerges, not only in order to hack the new mar­keted urban game­space but also in order to re-con­quer the city by re-ap­pro­pri­at­ing its very wealth and essence: that is the dis­posal, in­ter­est, ca­pa­bil­ity and knowl­edge of the play­ers them­selves.  Isn’t this bat­tle a mere metaphor for the trad­egy of the post-fordist con­di­tion long­ing for po­lit­i­cal sub­ver­sion and sub­stan­tial change?

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