Hubbub has gone into hibernation.

Week 233

This week was all about Lift 14. Alper and I trav­eled to Gene­va on Tues­day. We prepped our work­shop at a local cowork­ing spot and lat­er at our apartment.

Warming up for the Playing with Rules workshop with online "Mens erger je niet!"

The next morn­ing, we ran Play­ing with Rules. We fol­lowed rough­ly the same for­mat as at Mozil­la Fes­ti­val last year, slight­ly adjust­ed based on feed­back from some of the par­tic­i­pants from back then. We had a nice group with a var­ied back­ground. There were less peo­ple with game design expe­ri­ence this time around, which was fine as we have train­ing wheels built into the for­mat. Out­comes were inter­est­ing, includ­ing one game about road rage with some mechan­ics that actu­al­ly gen­er­at­ed traf­fic jams on the board.

In the reflec­tion dur­ing the wrap-up we dis­cussed things like how to argue with games, how with applied games it’s not so much about being real­is­tic as it is about inter­est­ing. We also observed that some issues seem to nat­u­ral­ly emerge from the starter game we picked, things like immi­gra­tion, traf­fic, dis­crim­i­na­tion. It might be inter­est­ing to swap out Mens erg­er je niet! for some­thing else next time. The main point of the workshop—the impor­tance of iter­a­tion and the impor­tance of expe­ri­enc­ing a design first-hand as soon as possible—clearly came across.





After the work­shop, Lift 14 kicked off in ernest. On the first day, I par­tic­u­lar­ly enjoyed Alex­is Lloyd’s crit­i­cism of seam­less design, the mak­ing-of of the first lab-grown ham­burg­er and gor­geous still and mov­ing images pro­duced by Lia Giraud using algae.

Countdown till launch at Lift 14

Lift 14

That evening, we head­ed to the tra­di­tion­al Lift fon­due, ate lots of cheese and drank a suf­fi­cient amount of wine. Good con­ver­sa­tions were had.



Dur­ing the remained of the con­fer­ence, we found some time to play around with the work on dis­play at the exhi­bi­tion, includ­ing a demo of third-per­son per­spec­tive live video gog­gles by Out­er­Body Labs (which remind­ed me of 3RD by Monoban­da) and neat retro-com­pat­i­ble games and play­ful inter­faces made by HEAD media design students.

Playing with the OuterBody Labs exhibit


Towards the end of the con­fer­ence we were treat­ed to two excel­lent talks on algo­rith­mic cul­ture. Ian Bogost revealed how the algo­rithm has become a dom­i­nant metaphor of our time, high­light­ing but also obscur­ing cer­tain aspects of the world, such as the fact that much work still involves humans, even when we think it’s just code. (I was remind­ed of recent reads Metaphors We Live By and We Have Nev­er Been Mod­ern.) Dan Williams took us on an enjoy­able tour of what it means to be a mak­er in a world dom­i­nat­ed by the algo­rithm, and arrived at sim­i­lar con­clu­sions. Mak­ing things—physical things especially—is still messy and a lot of work. It won’t do to defer all respon­si­bil­i­ty for how the world is organ­ised to engi­neers or even design­ers. Real­i­ty is messy and demands equal­ly messy assem­blages of dis­ci­plines to deal with it.

We would depart on Sat­ur­day, but not before we were treat­ed to a gen­uine­ly mind-blow­ing tour of CERN, includ­ing a vis­it to the con­trol cen­tre and down below to the LHC. It’s amaz­ing to think humans are capa­ble of projects of such enor­mous scale and encour­ag­ing to know sci­ence can bring nations togeth­er to joint­ly pur­sue such peace­ful ends. James Bri­dle wrote a nice thing about this after his vis­it two years ago. I’ll leave it there, and let the pho­tos below speak for themselves.

Control Room

CMS Badge

Packed elevator

Detector thing


More racks

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