Play and Eric Zimmerman
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Oct 28 2010 - Oct 29 2010

Entrance: 18:30
Start: 19.30

Games have been credited with a number of useful side effects – from increasing productivity to making us into better human beings. But wait: what about fun? Isn’t play supposed to be fun? What ever happened to our right to escape into the virtual worlds of games? We want useless, purposeless, unserious games!

Playfulness as a design feature is staking out a claim in many areas of life. The arts, music, film, architecture, design, advertising ... Is it possible that playfulness is the lowest common denominator of these disciplines, a thread that runs through creative expressions of all kinds? Even waiting for a download on the internet is no longer boring when we are offered a little game to pass the time.

Playfulness does not stand in opposition to concentration but emphasizes intuitive approaches. “Could I quickly press 'save' at this point in my life, and try out something new?” Play can also stand for trial and error, for training, for practice. Rehearsing something over and over again until we finally achieve a goal. There’s always the possibility to restart.
Taken as a general principle, this approach can also be applied to more serious aspects of life. Career-planning as an adventure game? Approaching things playfully can make our lives easier, liberate our thoughts from determinism, and turn us into more flexible agents. But isn’t that exactly what society wants us to be? Is flexible employment just the next level beyond the security of a safe long-term job?

The unbearable lightness of playing? Are social networking sites such as facebook just playing fields? Consensual hallucinations, which allow us to learn by trial and error how to hone our social skills? It was Google CEO Eric Schmidt who suggested that we all receive a new identity when we come of age, and leave behind our youthful sins. Get a new name, get a new life. 1UP. Faites vos jeux.

Are these social transformations really happening? Are they beneficial or detrimental to social cohesion and development? Only one thing is clear: the ludic society is coming. We invite you to explore this new world with us when we discuss playfulness with our guests at the Games Culture Circle-

In cooperation with Invisible Playground Berlin - Game Design Workshop with Eric Zimmerman and Nathalie Pozzi on Oct 29-30, 2010.

Ahmet Acar

Design thinking consultant

"Play is an activity with the biological functions of learning and recreation and has therefore both purpose and use. I do, however, agree that games should be "unserious". Enjoyment is not just inherent to games and play, it is a defining quality. Thus, playfulness is a disposition lacking in seriousness, aiming at enjoyment. I don't think that it is a common thread in all creative expression, yet I do believe that many serious areas of life could use a little light-hearted amusement."

As a founding member of ingosu, Ahmet is a design thinking consultant promoting environments and workflows that foster innovation in organizations. He was one of the first teachers at the D-School in Potsdam, helping to build the institute for two years. Before, Ahmet had been a social media consultant at Freie Universität Berlin, where he had contributed his knowledge of communication on the Internet and introduced Web 2.0 concepts to the presiding committee.

During his time at the MHSG GmbH, an e-learning agency of the Berlin higher education institutions, he introduced community platforms to the universities in Berlin. He started his research as a graduate fellow of the Alcatel SEL Foundation for Communication Research and initiated a conference on new media in 2004 (Neue Medien der Informationsgesellschaft).

He graduated from Communication Studies with a thesis about subcultures in computer games. He is an alumnus of the BMW Herbert Quandt Foundation and supports various social causes with pro bono work.

Eric Zimmerman

Game designer, author and filmmaker

"To play with something is to explore its envelope, to monkey with its structures, to get it to do something it wasn't supposed to do. Play is the ghost in the machine; it is free movement in a more rigid structure. Play sometimes doesn't just play with structures but in fact transforms them into something new. For example, slang is play within the more rigid structures of traditional, fixed language. That's why play is surprise, creativity, and innovation - as well as perversity, transgression, and subversion."

Eric Zimmerman is a game designer, entrepreneur, author and academic who has been working in the game industry for more than 16 years. He is an internationally recognized creative force, design scholar, and gadfly pundit on game design and game culture.

Eric is the Co-Founder and was Chief Design Officer of Gamelab, a game development company based in New York City between 2000 and 2009. Gamelab was named one of 5 "Rising Star" design firms by HOW Magazine and created innovative games for broad audiences, including singleplayer and multiplayer online games, as well as games in other media both on and off the computer. Many of them have won awards.
Eric's game design work prior to Gamelab includes the critically acclaimed SiSSYFiGHT 2000 as well as the PC games Gearheads and The Robot Club. He sits on the boards of Games for Change and The Institute of Play and the Advisory for Digital Media for Global Kids.

Eric lectures and publishes on games, including keynotes at major industry events. He is the co-author with Katie Salen of Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals, the definitive textbook on game design (MIT Press, 2004). He is also the co-editor with Katie Salen of The Game Design Reader (MIT Press, 2006) and co-editor with Amy Scholder of RE:PLAY - Game Design and Game Culture (Peter Lang Press, 2003). Eric has taught courses at MIT, New York University, Parsons School of Design and School of Visual Arts.
He has exhibited game artworks at museums and galleries in the US and abroad.

Eric studies Shaolin KungFu at the USA Shaolin Temple under Sifu Shi Yan Ming.

Iepe B.T. Rubingh

Artist, chessboxing inventor and former chessbox world champion

"We are still sitting in a sandbox!"

IEPE is a Dutch artist born 1974 in Rotterdam. He lives and works in Berlin since 1997. IEPE is the creative inventor of Chessboxing, a 7 year-old and already world famous sport that combines chess and boxing in alternating rounds.
Chessboxing is thought to be a social sculpture where people internalise the ideas behind chessboxing: a healthy body in a healthy mind, mixing two contrary worlds and the ultimate control over aggression.

Under his full name, Iepe Rubingh founded the World Chess Boxing Organisation in 2003 and since then served as the prime mover and spokesperson of this new sport. In 2005 he founded the Chess Boxing Club Berlin, who now has 60 members. There are now chessboxing organisations in Berlin, London, Krasnoyarsk (Siberia) and Los Angeles.

IEPE’s often both humorous and provocative artwork includes larger actions in public space like blocking off intersections with barrier tape (5000 meters) in Berlin and Tokyo, which he calls the “Joker performances”. The raining “Miracle Trees” also belong in the category of larger scale public space artwork and were shown independently in Berlin and at the Singapore Biennale in 2005.

Apart from this IEPE co-founded lecture Platform Pechakucha in Berlin in 2006 and has been curating speakers till today.

He lately created the colouful intervention ‘Painting Reality’ transforming Berlins Rosenthaler Platz with 500 liters of paint on asphalt spread by 2000 cars into an abstract painting.