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GALLERY 2014

mobilization

Micronation of Ludea
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Description of campaign/project


Urban planning is typically a lengthy bureaucratic process that aims to balance a network of systems and rules that are social, institutional, spatial, commercial and cultural. The modern city is an algorithm, similar to Forrester's 'urban dynamics' on which SimCity is built. Somewhat like SimCity but rather than being 'god' of the simulation we are worker ants or nodes embedded in its system.

What if players recoded the city from within? Multiple agents in an intimate conversation with the city using actual and virtual technologies, real and potential realities. The Micronation of Ludea proposes street games that engage players with cities using languages of play. Nonverbal languages of entities, actions, tokens, and processes that open up new forms of dialogue with the codes of the city.


Urban play strategies enabled by transmedia storytelling alter our experience of the contemporary city. Over the past two years the Ludeans have developed an approach to urban spaces called ‘urban codemaking’ that draws upon the pictographic language of travelling hobos, the spatial narrative of game worlds and generative systems as tools for urban design.

The street game draws upon the mythology of a fictional universe, pervasive gaming methodologies, and strategies for urban renewal and intervention. This story is told via a game that follows players across social, digital and physical spaces within the city.


If you have played a game then you have been to Ludea. It is that space you go to when you are ‘in-game’, in the zone, or otherwise immersed in play.

For the Ludeans, this state is the basis of their culture, their language, their way of life. Patterns and logic of the game become their way of seeing the entire world. The ontology of the game world is the ontology of their reality. Reality is game.

This game places players in that mixed reality, allowing them to reflect on the processes that bring it into being.


I also have a personal connection with the Micronation of Ludea. Indulge me in a moment of personal reflection. I spent most of the 90s immersed in a virtual world of digital icons, plastic knowbots and artificial life. During September of 2001, while exhibiting a work entitled Mixed Reality, I rediscovered reality. Four years later in 2005, I became involved with the Ludeans. They helped me at a difficult time in my life as I made the shift across to reality. Whilst still a ‘reality newbie’ I can get where they are coming from – spend a significant amount of time ‘in-game’ and the real world is coloured by the that experience. It is encoded in your way of being.

Curators comments More info on Curators & Editors ›

There are clearly some very strong elements going for this project.

I accept the fundamental anchoring of this project in the universe of play and can totally see the empowerment that playing with one's urban environment brings. As a former culture jammer, someone who used to alter billboards and otherwise rework the urban landscape in a guerilla fashion, I get it.

The iconography is beautifully done. Simple and compelling. Just the right thing for easy adoption and clear recognition. It also makes sense that it is reminiscent of a Playstation kind of world, where everything is a color-coded geometrical button.

From what I can see in the video, many people participated and seemed to have fun doing it. Bravo for that, for that is a lot harder to achieve than many think at first.

But from here on in, I have only questions, because the references provided here leave many gaps.

What urban issues were people solving for in the game?
What was the issue of their participation, what did it create?
Why do the protesters think that play has been outlawed in urban centers?

I am sure that there are answers to all of the above somewhere, I just don't see them in the project presentation. My concern is that this not be simply an exercise of form, using gaming and activist iconography in a purely gestural manner.

View other works commented by Tom Liacas  ››

While this gesture is not perfect in terms of its critical intervention-it does allow the post-contemporary condition of reality-gaming, transmedia narratives, and inside-out
tactics to be foregrounded as potential spaces for exploring the "ruins-yet-to-come."
And the currents of constructing the "real" as just one more code or protocol continues to grow at all levels of tech-ecologies. So projects like this one should be created and explored, or we won't be able to establish a critical aesthetic. A very helpful project that can lead to something else very soon by this artist or others.

View other works commented by Ricardo Dominguez  ››

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Curators comments

This work has been commented by 2 curator(s):
Tom Liacas Ricardo Dominguez go to comments ›

Entry details

Title

Micronation of Ludea


Headline

Recode the city through play


Concept author(s)

Troy Innocent


Concept author year(s) of birth

1971


Concept author(s) contribution

Game design, creative direction, art, transmedia, constitution.


Country

Australia


Copy author(s)

Darren Tofts & Paul Callahan


Copy author(s) contribution

Writing


Country

Australia


Competition category

mobilization


Competition field

nonacademic


Competition subfield

artist


Subfield description

My work invites people to play in worlds that emerge from transmedia ecologies – complex systems of virtual and actual signs and entities. These are typically expressed via a unique aesthetic vocabulary that spans interaction, design, sculpture, animation, sound and installation in galleries and in cities.