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In this lab we will explore new ways of thinking anthropological research through games. Participants will have an online game session of "House of Gossip" and discuss the game experience and the potential of games and game design as a multimodal research method in the field of anthropology.
As part of the Stadtlabor for Multimodal Anthropology we are interested in contemporary urban issues, explore multimedia formats of knowledge production and intervention in collaboration with other urban actors. Our exploration around games started in the context of a one-year ethnographic project "The Only Game in Town?". After analysing the contemporary crisis of the housing and real estate market in Berlin, we then set to prototype games. As inspiration, we chose the history of the game Monopoly-registered in 1904 by Elizabeth Magie as "The Landlord's Game" and conceived as an educational and political tool to reveal the dangers of land monopolies. In collaboration with ZK/U (Centre for Art and Urbanistics, Berlin), we have produced the game "House of Gossip", which is a performative game that problematizes the threat of displacement of tenants from their homes. The game is supposed to open up discussions, produce knowledge and initiate new forms of anthropological research. As such, it is open to be transformed and re-versioned, so that its specific languages, logics, gameplay, and effects could be adapted to specific situations and concerns of various urban actors. In spite, or even because of their ludic dimension, games might be capable to alter the ways in which we discuss issues, share knowledge, raise awareness, make urban problems public, imagine futures, and learn to care.
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