Lars Kristensen and Rebecca Rouse

Lars Kristensen and Rebecca Rouse

Open Play: the PlayLab Games and Performance research and community performing arts platform

The presentation introduces PlayLab, an experimental research, performance, and teaching space that is collaboratively led by the University of Skövde and Skövde Municipality’s Culture division. PlayLab defines games as structured experiences that centre play as an interaction mode, highlight social aesthetics, and often include boundary systems like rules; defines technologies as objects that are either digital or mechanical systems for experience design, which have a performative nature revealed through human interaction; and defines the performing arts as people-centred artistic traditions focusing on the human body as an expressive medium. Politically, PlayLab values incompleteness and work-in-progress aesthetics as productive and necessary for creative innovation, and reflects these values in the structure of the the organisation itself, which will always remain in progress and growth. Through this interdisciplinary theoretical and political perspective on games, technologies, performing arts, and people, PlayLab presents a range of new works, classes, and projects each year, now including the LudoKonst festival.

Reporting on initial offering of LudoKonst, we discuss the theme of intimate connection that emerged across all works, with several presented to a single audience member at a time, and offer reflections on ways in which this intimate configuration may be a response to current cultural and social needs. We interrogate the positioning of technologies in what we identify as a cultural longing for human intimacy. We also provide frank evaluations of the practical, technical and logistical challenges faced in producing a festival of immersive interactive new works for the public, and look ahead to future iterations of LudoKonst and more at PlayLab, inviting collaboration from fellow Immersive Days participants.

Rebecca Rouse is an Associate Professor in Media Arts, Aesthetics, and Narration in the Division of Game Development at the University of Skövde. Rouse holds a PhD in Digital Media from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA), an MA in Communication & Culture from the joint program at York University and Ryerson University (Toronto, Canada), and a BA in Theatre Studies and German Studies from Brown University (Providence, RI). Rouse’s research focuses on investigating new forms of storytelling with new technologies such as immersive and responsive systems for theatrical performance, interactive installation, movable books, and games. This design work dovetails with Rouse’s research in critical pedagogies and design methods, media theory, and history of technology.

Lars Kristensen has an MA (European Civilization) and an MPhil (Slavonic Languages) from the University of Glasgow and in 2010 he completed a PhD (Film Studies) at the University of St. Andrews. After a couple of years as a post-doc research associate at the University of Central Lancashire, he started his position in 2013 as Senior Lecturer in Media Art, Aesthetics and Narration at the University of Skövde. His research focuses on the theory and criticism of moving images, which includes computer games. His approach is analytical and historical, examining both the visual representation and the industry that produces the images.

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