Week 166

This week was all about fran­ti­cal­ly get­ting things sort­ed so that I can com­plete­ly dis­con­nect for a week on start­ing fri­day (tomor­row).

  • Putting up the scaf­fold­ing for project Fugu; a col­lab­o­ra­tion with Riv­er Insti­tute on an exper­i­ment in high­er edu­ca­tion at the UvA. Hub­bub will be design­ing some ARG-ish addi­tions to its pro­gram. I am bring­ing on board two interns to work with me on this. I’ll have them intro­duce them­selves at the Hub­bub blog soon.
  • Final exams at the HKU which is best described as a roller-coast­er ride of drain­ing and exhil­a­rat­ing moments. I judged the work of 10 inter­ac­tion design and game design stu­dents, includ­ing those I coached myself. Some were very good. There is a show at the fac­ul­ty on sep­tem­ber 10 & 11 called EJECT.
  • Had some meet­ings about yet anoth­er project which I have decid­ed to code­name Ika. This is a mix of me coach­ing a group of HKU stu­dents and doing design research in the cul­tur­al her­itage domain. A hybrid edu­ca­tion­al mod­el.
  • Var­i­ous man­age­ment-type activ­i­ties for PLAY Pilots. Most­ly aimed at help­ing the Zes­baans / NFF pilot make it into the world and get­ting the Wip ‘n’ Kip addi­tions for the site up.
  • This after­noon we’ll kick off project Maguro which is about using per­va­sive games for inter­nal train­ing pur­pos­es at a gov­ern­ment agency.
  • Tomor­row at 12:15 I will get on this boat to this island and will be very hard to reach for a week. I plan to do a lot of read­ing, cycling and walk­ing and not much else. Well, sleep­ing prob­a­bly. Lots of that too.

So, don’t expect any notes for week 167. I’ll be back to report on #168.

5 things I’m thinking about

You have Alper to blame for this. Alice start­ed it, many fol­lowed (some well worth read­ing) and now the meme has crossed the pond it seems. I know, we’re a bit slow in NL. So, what am I think­ing about?

My upcom­ing hol­i­day, which will be the first break in over a year. I am plan­ning to com­plete­ly unplug, which I am both dread­ing and look­ing for­ward to. It seems the longer I am self-employed, the hard­er it gets to just leave work behind for an extend­ed peri­od of time. It seems crazy to be wor­ried about the con­ti­nu­ity of my busi­ness when I’m only away for a week on a freak­ing Wad­den island.

Today marks the last day of final exams at the HKU and I am lead to won­der about the future of design edu­ca­tion as it hap­pens there and at oth­er sim­i­lar insti­tutes around the world. It often seems too closed off from the out­side world, too insu­lar. I am look­ing for­ward to tan­gling with this sub­ject mat­ter more in an upcom­ing project with Riv­er Insti­tute.

Choos­ing has nev­er come easy to me. In the past I have found it painful to choose between dis­ci­plines, skills to devel­op, projects to work on. And at some point I sort of decid­ed to stop forc­ing choic­es and find ways to have them all mesh. I think that final­ly I am get­ting to a spot where I am com­fort­able in not choos­ing. So now I won­der why that is, what the val­ue of refus­ing to choose is and what that means for cre­ative dis­ci­plines.

I am essen­tial­ly pes­simistic about the future of this world. I have a very hard time con­ceiv­ing of any future, in fact. Recent­ly I found myself in a work­shop aimed at mak­ing plans for an event in 2015 and I was total­ly lost. Hav­ing learnt this about myself the next ques­tion is how to act — I don’t wan’t to “play dead” as Bruce Ster­ling would say — so what’s the alter­na­tive?

Since it is at the core of my busi­ness I am think­ing a lot about domains where games could go next. I am think­ing a lot about cit­i­zen engage­ment, par­tic­u­lar­ly when it comes to pub­lic pol­i­cy, but I am most­ly stumped about mak­ing inroads into that area local­ly.

There you have it.

links for 2010-08-25

  • “they’re just finite (indeed, crap­py) lit­tle pre­texts – along­side oth­er pre­texts like gift-giv­ing, sharing/curating, commenting/expressing – to help us engage in the poten­tial­ly infi­nite social com­mu­ni­ca­tion that some­thing like Face­book (or more gen­er­al­ly the inter­net) affords.” One of many gems to be found in this elab­o­rate Won­der­lab report from Mr. Kane.

links for 2010-08-24

Week 165

So week 165. One of those old-fash­ioned frag­ment­ed weeks that reminds me of why I decid­ed a while ago that I should stop hav­ing more than two meet­ings on one day. Any­way.

Fol­low­ing the week­end of Stekker Fest crazi­ness I had a bit of an off day on Mon­day. Tues­day I sat down with Ianus and Alexan­der to make plans for the next This hap­pened — Utrecht. We’ve had a bit of trou­ble find­ing a venue, get­ting financ­ing and every­thing but it looks like we’re all set. Mon­day 4 Octo­ber at The­ater Kikker in Utrecht, NL. Save the date.

From Ams­ter­dam I trav­eled on to Rot­ter­dam and spent some time at Simon’s sketch­ing out the addi­tions to PLAY Pilots for the Wip ‘n’ Kip game data. I also dropped by BUROPONY. They might make some­thing cool for This hap­pened atten­dees…

Wednes­day I had cof­fee with Thieu and Godelieve at the West­er­gas­fab­riek in Ams­ter­dam to talk about a new project which I’ve dubbed Fugu. It deals with exper­i­men­tal (game-like) new forms of high­er edu­ca­tion. I am tak­ing on board two interns to help me out with that. That’ll be an inter­est­ing new expe­ri­ence. I also hooked up with Peter, who is now at Adap­tive Path Ams­ter­dam. Cool build­ing, they seem to be doing well. Nice.

In the after­noon on Wednes­day I was back in Utrecht to talk to Ezra, who is involved with some inter­est­ing research into cycling. He’s based in Copen­hagen. We dis­cussed ways in which we might use low-tech per­va­sive urban games to shape cycle use. Who knows, Hub­bub might ven­ture there to do some exper­i­ments in future.

I fin­ished that day off with a review of a stu­dent pre­sen­ta­tion. Final exams is next week; that’ll eat up a lot of my time.

Ah what’s more? Thurs­day, more edu­ca­tion­al work, I attend­ed a kick-off of the new aca­d­e­m­ic year at the HKU’s school of art and tech­nol­o­gy. I liked the fact that all teach­ers were there and sat down to sync their class­es and assign­ments in such a way that they all con­nect­ed to projects stu­dents would be doing. Prop­er project-based art edu­ca­tion. Good to see that hap­pen.

And today I am review­ing one more stu­dent pre­sen­ta­tion and am spend­ing some time with Alper on PLAY Pilots and relat­ed bits.

Look­ing ahead, next week will be about the afore­men­tioned final exams and also the kick-off of project Maguro. I have to say I am run­ning on fumes a bit and can’t wait for next week because on fri­day I will head to Ter­schelling for a week and unplug com­plete­ly.

Almost for­got about Boc­ce Drift this Sun­day. Come along and play.

links for 2010-08-17

  • “It’s the play­ful spir­it of the game that’s more impor­tant than the let­ter of the rules. Which is as it should be. Jane McGo­ni­gal says real­i­ty is bro­ken and let’s fix it with game, a whiff of for­ma­lin in the air. Her lens on the world is rather monoc­u­lar, fun­da­men­tal­ist in the prop­er sense of the word. It rarely admits fail­ure and dreams of a super­hu­man­i­ty. But I think I can do no bet­ter than make play with peo­ple, and forc­ing them into one game they don’t want to play is like try­ing to chore­o­graph but­ter­flies.” Pure gold.

Week 164

I am sat at the stu­dio while around me Fource­Labs are putting the final touch­es to their instal­la­tion for Stekker Fest. I’ll be there tomor­row to hand out but­tons to play­ers. It’s the first in a series of three play­ful addi­tions to three fes­ti­vals that I am over­see­ing — first called project Ebi and now com­mon­ly known as PLAY Pilots. As such I can’t wait to see the response of play­ers. On the oth­er hand, I am sure it’ll be great.

The next project in the PLAY Pilots series is by Zes­baans for the Nether­lands Film Fes­ti­val. I had a few more meet­ings about that one as well, most­ly about get­ting some pro­duc­tion­al stuff sort­ed. It turns out get­ting big screens for a long peri­od of time is kind of expen­sive. Your learn some­thing every­day.

Last week we launched a first ver­sion of the PLAY Pilots web­site, which includes an online game. This week we’ve start­ed rolling out the first improve­ments. I have been plan­ning some changes and addi­tions to the rule­set. We’ve also start­ed work on pulling in the Wip ‘n’ Kip game data.

Apart from this, I have been doing some prepa­ra­tion for new projects; code­named Uni, Maguro and Fugu. More on those as things devel­op.

Week 162

Slight­ly over­due so I’ll keep it (very) short.