2016, Oct 27: Cross Species Game Design

Lai-Tze Fan edited this page Nov 11, 2016 · 11 revisions

#October 27: Workshop on Cross-Species Game Design (Concordia University, Canada)

Workshop description

Workshop leader: Ida Marie Toft, PhD Candidate at Concordia University


Ida’s Opening Comments

  • working with analogue games
  • “controllers for plants” — Ida is using antennaes that she’s putting through Arduino, then interpreting the data of plants, crystals, etc. as a way to think about them as controllers, as if plants are playing
  • discourse on plants: documents on plants about “what they like and how they like to grow”
  • Mary Flanagan’s game design cards “Grow Game”
    • human words are interesting: trust, peace, tradition, privacy
  • only add onto things, don’t destroy
  • crystals have electrical properties; you can hear this by hooking them up to an amplifier

Notes on Others' Games

Kara Stone's games

  • quartz would be singing to Spanish lavendar, and a smelly tea for it to enjoy
  • dress-up game for spider plant
  • found it hard to think about what the plants want and what they would do

Ida Toft's games

  • spider plant: small reward package; small baby plants could reach little pots of nutrients that also act as swings or cradles
  • small reward package thing as a treasure hunt for the English ivy

    starting being interested in which it would prefer or choose

  • choose your own adventure game: see which objects they choose to grow out towards

    it won’t like the aluminum foil

Kalervo Sinervo’s games

  • Chinese rose: weighted bits of soil on the leaves
  • English IV: reach for the sun; ideal player for this would be bean stalks

    shade with point scores for holes

  • creeping plants will cover the solar-powered motor, ultimately making it stop

Joshua Savage’s games

  • ivy obstacle course crawling up the wall
  • tried not to touch or impact the plant as much as possible

Discussion points

  • we all had difficulty knowing or considering what the plants want
  • a lot of our games were based around touch instead of other stuff like light

Ida Q: "so many things we don’t know about the plant, what did we consider?"

  • common issue: the scale of time
    • Kalervo: pleasure for checking over months and months
    • plants and deep time in game play
  • repeated question about if humans can create things that aren’t solely for us
  • a lot of our focus has been on communication
    • food, sun, water are the limited ways in which we think about plants and if they’re doing well; sometimes smell
    • the idea that they only care about survival has been used to make the argument that animals, for instance, lack intelligence or any kind of rational consciousness

Ida: “Do plants care if they die?”
- we’re not looking for answers, but our thoughts about the plants are projections of our own humanness
- opens a space for us to dehumanize

  • we’re so worried to harm the plants, but we don’t think about how we harm humans when we make them hunch over computers, etc.
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