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Dear Luján 

-  thank you for your considerate response,  and I'd be interested in discussing your notions of "playful culture"
and projecting an exhibition as a "playable thesis" further –  these are stimulating provocations that not 
only seem to examine what we may mean (in differing contexts, in this world) by playful (the good old
homo ludens) and who can afford to be playful and who can't, under what circumstances, but how
a not existential medium or platform such a video games can be expose in challenging ways through
a probing of its design process or principles, and whether such designing (aimed at user experience
satisfaction, hooking them) is, on the larger market, participation oriented or whether an exhibition
of design choices can involve audiences in the manner you propose (which I doubt).

Your outreach and education strategies seem very successful, and I wonder whether coding
(and machinima production, experimental games) will inevitably enter middle and high schools
now, and how Games Design (and Interaction Design) will fare in the university sector in comparison
to the industry sector.

I am not sure whether this subject is still on, Gregor White, and where you wanted to take it? And
naturally I hope that the small flurry of un-subscriptions from the list at one point was not due to the fact that
at that precise point we had been discussion performing arts and dance in relation to games...

regards
Johannes Birringer



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Hi Johannes! Thanks for your interest in the Latin American panorama :)

Here are my answers to your comments:

When talking about “playful culture” I have in mind the new wave of
'makers', the comeback of the hackers spaces, fab-labs and so on. All
those experiences that have a strong ludic feeling within its core. I’m
also thinking about the edutainment movement which is gaining more and
more adepts as days goes by. Also declarations like Zimmerman’s “Ludic
manifest” and the great wave of cultural events centered around play. It
seems like we are remembering what play used to mean; names like Huizinga
are being discussed again, thesis on video games and its impact on diverse
aspects on our society are being written, etc.

As for an exhibition thought as a playable thesis… My thinking was an
exhibition thought as a thesis, as a thinking and practical exercise on
game-design. A thesis does not neccesary need to be written neither to be
extremely theoretical. I feel that if the idea is to engage the audience
that will assist, it needs to be an example of how the experience of
creating a videogame "feels". An interactive space where the audience
becomes a co-creator of the exhibition, participating in a experience that
takes them from the game mechanics experimentation to the character
development and even playtesting. The exhibition itself could become a
thesis that ellaborates about the game design proccess in a ludic and
engaging way. Easier said than done! :)

The series of exhibitions and events organized by "Game on! El arte en
juego” have taken place in a variety of venues, such as universities,
cultural centers, art & technology festivals, and my own art gallery in
Buenos Aires. We have once sent a couple of arcade games to be exhibited
at a contemporary art museum here in Argentina, but have not yet had the
chance to organice a whole exhibition within that context. Neither has
been previous experiences on game exhibitions in museums, nor in Argentina
or the rest of Latin America as far as I know. Museums here still have a
more traditional focus, even when it comes to contemporary art or new
media: there have been some solitary appearances of videogames or movie
projections related to the subject, even talks, but not yet an exhibition
based itself on videogames.

We haven’t tried film/video festivals yet. That’s something we have to
explore.

Regarding the Critical discourse on games / game-design in my region, it
would be difficult to get a real sense of it. The specialized media is not
that large neither has the focus/background on analyzing more than the
usual stuff (commercial games, mass events, etc).

About the response to the exhibitions: it has been great! We had about
25,000 people visiting the events we held over these years. We were front
page on several newspapers and got a lot of press articles from different
areas such as technology, culture and showbiz. Our exhibitions usually get
a wide range of audience; highschools and universities coordinate to come,
visit and take place of the activities as if it was an extra-curricular
activity from school. Many students come to learn and talk to the
designers, while new media artists are also kin to this kind of
exhibitions and, of course, the general audience. Although many families
come with their children thinking they will find a playground were to
leave the kids, they end up staying all together enjoying a day out,
realizing that games are not just for children. Lately I’ve been invited
to go to several universities to give talks on experimental and art-games.

I hope I was clear and answer your questions.
Looking forward to hearing more from you and everyone else’s experiences!
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