SPIEL! Games as Critical Practice
Everybody plays games, is fascinated by games, and many people press PLAY buttons dozens of times each day. In all forms, games dominate our leisure time and distract us from reality. But game theory also shapes political strategies and new rules for society. How do we become media-competent gamers, and not just pawns of gamification?
The international festival “SPIEL! Games as Critical Practice” explores the creative power in games. For the festival, the Hochschule für Musik FHNW in Basel will be hosting concerts, lectures, performances, and discussions to playfully and critically illuminate social, technological, and aesthetic issues based on music—in scientific lectures as well as in a real-world audio game, in a rave séance, and in a gambling den.
Many playful processes, including chance, performance, collaboration, and improvisation, are closely related to musical practice. Conversely, playfulness, gamification, and social design are increasingly shaping music education work. The multilayered concept of play initiates productive networks of art and education, teaching and research, technical innovation and socially critical discourse.
Essential potentials of a game only become recognizable when playing! During this extended weekend, the game subject becomes the mode of its mediation. A large part of the events will take place in the public space of the Foyer Public of the Theater Basel. Lectures and discussion forums interact with music performances, artistic interventions, installations, and participatory formats. In addition to renowned international guests from the fields of music, design, and research, there will also be many local partners and with them, many pupils and students will be actively involved.
Some of the highlights of the program include akeynote by the renowned American game designer Mary Flanagan; a real-world audio game for young and old on the Theaterplatz; a public "Spielhölle" (gambling den) with numerous computer games and slot machines in the old ticket office of Theater Basel; a toy lab with new musical toys; a participative rave séance over several hours at the Jazzcampus; and a late-night concert of the band Ministry of Bad Decisions at the Hochschule für Musik.
The event will open at 17:00 on Thursday, and there will be a variety of activities throughout the day and evenings on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday; download the full program of events at https://www.fhnw.ch/de/forschung-und-dienstleistungen/musik/hochschule-fuer-musik/veranstaltungen/2021-22/games-as-critical-practice/spiel_programmubersicht-1.pdf.