Playing (urban) archives

Course at HCU Hamburg

This course aims to bring playing in conversation with (urban) archives. An archive can take many forms: from personal documents to institutional collections to online depositories. It is assembled and reassembled by diverse subjectivities and practices of collecting, complying, juxtaposing, narrating, memorizing. It is a dynamic process that combines multiple temporalities, the past and the present, and shapes the future. Urban space could also be interpreted as an archive dynamically being assembled by diverse bodies of matter, shaped by multiple temporalities and social and spatial processes.

Among other modes of relating, this course will prioritize playing as an activity and motive that opens up new experiences of bodily engagement, time, and political imaginaries beyond the traditional understandings of the urban. Playing provides a refreshing angle to create and share knowledge about how we inhabit urban spaces. It also opens up room for affective encounters such as desire, fun, serendipity, and empathy in urban processes.

This course will combine theoretical reflections with practice-based assignments and encourage playing experiments to explore untapped emancipatory potentials and foster further discussion on urban development.

The course will be held bi-weekly, and each session will be structured around a theoretical input, assignment(takes), and playing. During the semester, through those assignments, you will engage with particular archives and archival practices in Hamburg (from autonomous citizen archives to museums and libraries) and establish your archival practices in the process of working towards your final assignment. The students will engage with methods such as game mechanics, mapping, storytelling, narration, and walks during the course. And they will work individually as well as in groups during the semester and for the final assignment.

Additionally, the students will be offered to work with an archive of a diverse body of material (practices, games, writings) assembled through an interdisciplinary research project: authren, which investigates the potential of approaching the city through the lens of games and playing. The context of the research project offers a possibility to critically reflect on different forms of archives and gain practical skills and the ability to create their research projects individually.

The students will have the opportunity to present their works in the final event of the research project mentioned above, which will take place between September 9 to 12, 2022.

Park4All is a new game in Tibahni, the city that is every city. We played and tested it on the 23rd of May in Hamburg and the internet.

Premise of the game

Tibahni is a city of many parks. Every empty square at the side of a street is a possible park to spawn.

rules (implicit and explicit mixed)

Just take a step aside and spawn parks: Use the space that is yours. Ignore the cars, do things. Collect materials in the cities. Furniture your park, set up a sign. Hang out and do things. Tell the story of the park. Move on to create a next park when you feel like it.

the tale (subjective perspective of 1 forscha)

I met the others after they had already spawned a park, and I had heard some tales they told about it in the radio. From what I heard, they were on the way to spawn a second park on a main road that I knew, so I joined there. It was surprisingly easy. There was a shopping cart already standing on an empty parking lot, and we just joined it, bringing more materials we found in the street. Every time a car drove by it was very loud, which made the hanging out a bit uncomfortable. One person played drums, another one tried listening to the birds, the the third one started a counting game of passing-by police cars. Would be great to have plants that separate the park from the street. As we leave, the Kiosk owner asks us if we put all the things there. We smile, shake our heads and move on. At this point, we're four to six people.

The third park we spawn is in a road with little traffic yet many people sitting in bars (technically: in front of them) and hanging out in the public space randomly. On our way to the empty lot – this time, there is already an office chair waiting – we see people squatting on some parking lots next to a Kiosk. We find carpets another soft chair item, a table and even a telefax in this road that we all combine for this park. Building it feels a lot like doing art all of a sudden, and less like a game. I think this is because we have so many people watching us. It's a performance vibe, not because we want to perform, but because we are made into performers by the hipsters in the bar and the way they look at us. We try watching the park from a semi-distance, as hanging out in it feels too performy after about half an hour. We see three people taking pictures of themselves in the park.

As we move on, we are three to four people now, we already collect items on the way to the next park. The streets are full of useful material and objects, and after these past experiences, we have developed a skill to see them as such. How we move as a group is determined by the game and our implicit knowledge. Our eyes are looking for useful things, we don't move as a closed group but with each one of us kinda hunting while heading in a semi-determined direction together.

With all our arms full of chairs, grills, wood, pallets, a small table... we find the perfect parking spot infront of an already existing park. it's two cars wide in a calmer street and we start arranging and furnishing, listening to the story we tell ourselves, chatting with passers by who are impressed with the idea. At some point, you even write a declaration: this is public space. use the space that is yours. #park4all spawn parks everywhere. I read the declaration out loud for our audio stream. I feels empowering.

As we want to watch this park and how people interact with it – kinda swiftly changing perspective from players to observators (or have we just been participating observators before?), we decide that we move to the other side of the road just to watch. As we just sit on a parking lot on the floor, we start to feel it itch in our fingers – so we, again, collect some pallets and flowers and a table. Now we are playing and observating at the same time, and start interacting with the people that in the meantime sat down in the neighbouring park. It feels very nice and natural, we drink a beer, start listening to a nice set of electronic music, the night is falling.

we leave all our parks behind. the second-to-last one, in front of the park, stayed for some days. I wonder who put them away – the city hall? an annoyed driver looking for a parking space? a neighbour?

things we noticed

it was a lot easier than we thought.

being in the park was a lot of fun. it gave an interesting way to interact with people outside of the park.

you become faster and faster in spotting and spawning a park, finding material for your park, arranging it and inhabiting it. it's nice to see that also this is something to learn and train.

Tibahni is an example for an authered city. For more information about the city of Tibahni, playing in it and becoming an inhabitant, visit

“Kennst du das, wenn der Raum so authered...?” Poetic Protocol in drei Teilen zu Orchid Collector von Fantasia Malware (de/en)

Scene 1: Opening Act

jacques tati spielt in saal eins die leute tröpfeln ein und du erklärst und begrüsst und wir sind alle ganz aufgeregt es handelt sich hier um eine absolute premiere für uns und für die spieleerschaffenden

soll ich einen witz erzählen fragst du in die stille während einzelne stifte städtenamen und muster auf die präsentation malen es gibt einen ganz besonderen fisch der kann nur in der ganz besonderen mischung aus limonade und kola überleben kann es ist der spezifisch lache ich in mein Headset du bejahst und sagst: wobei es eine ganz andere antwort gibt die nach einem anderen prinzip läuft: es ist die schwippschwappforelle

kommt doch am ende mit uns in den bunker sagst du wir machen was in einem bunker in köln ohne fenster

kannst du nochmal sagen wo man jetzt findet was man wissen muss? hier in den shared notes auf der linken seite gibt es den orchid collection identification guide das ist ein handbuch um orchideen zu finden und wer das spielen möchte sollte das dokument offen haben es gibt wohl auch ein ORIGINAL davon was wir gleich sehen hab ich gehört und wer joinen will braucht einen twitch account

wir haben fantasia malware getroffen und gemerkt, dass wir alle forscha sind in in authren überhaupt – vor ein paar tagen haben einige forscha ein interview mit anderen forscha gemcht, die den nächsten termin am 3.12 machen und wir haben alle ganz besonders geredet das hat sich so ergeben aus der praxis heraus wie wir unsere forschung machen nämlich über authren

du sagst: ich sitze in Berlin in meinem Wohnwagen auf dem Wagenplatz und ich habe mir heute mit einem grossen Flatscreen ein Büro gebaut und wir hatten gestern hier in der Aussenküche eine schöne Idee, nämlich dass ein grosser Müllmagnet kommt und alle Wagenplätze der Welt auf den Mars schickt ENDLICH KOLONIE OHNE KOLONIALHERRSCHAFT

ich sage: ich stehe an einer Bushaltestelle und der Bus kommt seit einer halben Stunde nicht, im Rücken das Meer, ich bin hier mit Laptop und Simkarte in einem tragbaren Router. die Gischt, der Sonnenuntergang, mein Hawaiihemd.

Scene 2: On Fire

I anxiously sit infront of the closed curtain aka the greenblue-ish drawing WAITING ROOM at the same time I nervously sit at that busstation and it's getting dark finally the screen changes and of course the bus arrives in that exact minute I jump in, show my ticket laptop in one hand, router in my pocket, headphones on my ears, mask covering mouth and nose you've got my backpack, luckily and we sit somewhere in the back

and I think that already this is authering so, so much so the bus is in a hurry, he came late and has to catch up and we ride through villages and sharp curves it's a rush the neonlight inside contrasts the night sky

and I see three personas. one on top with a controller and grey, long hair one on the left side with a book and a big nose one on the right side with glasses and a beard. so the person with the controller is in a hurry time is running it's a rush the floor is moving pretty fast the orchids show up quickly, sometimes several at a time I'm superbusy with taking in all the sensations at once and also reacting at the same time the orchids, the movement, the bus, the rest of the audience, the identification guide wow, this is some high level thing going on

my reality is split several times and if feels good to auther so much

Scene 3: Chill Out

you say: yeah what's with the floor hannah was talkin about the floor also was there something? i just saw bright cards everywhere and i wasnt quite sure if we should get an orchid of every kind or two of every kind i didnt get it there somehow was a velocity boost

you say: i think being in this orchid environment really enhanced my well-being

you say: I think I didn't get the development of the key card and the thing with the time extension i didn't get a lot of it i would just watch it and enjoy it, it was energizing even though I think I didn't get anything

you say: for me it moved too fast. i wanted to stop and look closer at things. to stop and look at the floor

b shows up. b seems to have missed the whole show and asks: what did it show?

you explain: a jungle with orchids popping up and say: it might have been recorded also I did check out some notes there were orchids popping up

you ask: what did the mirrors do?

and I wonder which mirrors you meant

we come up with a theory. the person on top was moving the avatar was the running preson i said the person on top was maybe the system you said the person on top was running what did it mean to you? like, mean, what did it mean?

you say: i also didn't really get the game but think it had a good speed to it and the whole confusion was also kind of funny. would be interesting if the audience could switch with one of the three playing

THERE IS THIS IDEA THAT I REALLY LOVE: it was the first time they played it online, it would be interesting to have other formats like have an appointment to play it? ask fantasia malware to play it? TECHNICALLY WE CAN JUST PLAY IT AT HOME ONE PERSON CAN MAKE UP WHICH ORCHIDS APPEAR ONE PERSON HAS THE BOOK AND TRIES TO FIND OUT ONE PERSON MOVES REALLY QUICKLY it's like an open source game

you say: i liked the rythm of the speaking and repeating the commands maybe we should create these orchids as nft cryptocoins and sell them on the black market and collect some money for the artists

you say: before we started I really had special feelings towards the place we are right now It could be interesting to know how you found your way to authren?

you say you are cooking curry dinner with the baby on one arm

do you have any feeling for the interlude parts the breaks or what? yeah this like resting parts they were filled with text, right it would be nice to read it again what they were reading

We played “Those Days Are Over-Or Are They?” in Tibahni, Vienna and Bern in the beginning of August 2020.

Premise of the Game

nowadays, even the streets are so, so empty. especially at night. Tibahni is a city of Music and Play. Where do you rave?

rules (implicit and explicit mixed)

Decide on a meeting place with whoever can leave the house in your city. The DJ, wherever they are, cares for the Playlist. Listen to it and dance at the meeting place or move on. Send the DJ some voice messages from time to time.

the tale (subjective perspective of 1ForschA)

in hindsight, it was one of the best parties ever. so much to begin with. so we had decided among some friends in Bern and Vienna, to meet and play in Tibahni. The Person in Vienna couldn't leave the house, in Bern we were 7 people and allowed to do so. The person in Vienna was the sewer and we all were a gang of movers (to know more about the concepts, check out the sewer decided for us to go to The Statue. we decided to rent some PubliBikes – public E-Bikes – and buy some beers. we (a group of Women and Nonbinaries) all dressed up as bad cycling boys, or, as they are called here, Publiboys: jogging trousers in tennis socks. hats worn sideways. big heavy gold chains. cheap beer in cans. cigarettes. sleeveless shirts. it was so much fun to listen to the tracks, perform toxic masculinity and cruise through the city. the DJ put on songs they thought of as fitting from a distance, they fueled their imagination through our tales and rare photos. this, again, empowered our performance.

things we noticed

following soon

hey, Authren.

the path I took today was completely different from anything I had expected. this is closely connected to the path my european world has taken in the past few weeks.

I decided to go to authren anonymously. remember when dressing up all in black and/or with a covered face was considered a crime? these days are over. now, it's a sign of dignity and being a good citizen. an anonymous citizen for the other citizen. yet tracked by the government (or it's health specialists) through your device.

so going to Authren anonymously was easy: I left all my devices at home except for a cheap watch. and dressed up with the clothes of the good citizen. it was, at first, a liberating feeling to play Anonymouse: the streets are almost empty social rules and norms have no impact on me (except the one urging me to keep distance) so I started playing, setting up new rules for me on the go: * take two steps, sit down, stand up * clap your hands once whenever you see someone on the other side of the street

but after a while I noticed that I was adding to the atmosphere of fear among the people. as they were part of my play without having any agency in it, it didn't feel right anymore.

so I took of my facemask, my black gloves and removed the hood. I decided to go back on track and to the office. (aka: home)

found path #34 : the windowshopper

the people moving outside seem to be longing for something extraordinary to happen I sit by the window and look at each and everyone passing by my head following their movement interrupting my rhythm of work with them letting them into my timespace, basically turning the passers-by into my frame when they look at me, they try looking through me and that's my chance: how many social distances can I break? as breaks I count * smiling at me while looking me into the eyes (1 point) * waving back (2 points) * coming closer (not breaking the physical distance of 1.5m) to strike up a conversation (4 points) * saying hey, authren (10 points)

I played for 10 minutes with only counting the people by foot, bicycles were too fast.

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiii a total of 16 people (1 point) (2points) (2points) (1point) (1point) (1point) (2points) a total of ten points

I noticed that people would never start waving themselves, however they would take initiative on the smiling part. but that's ok, I'm already further down the path. tomorrow, I'll play again.


so I started to . searching for. words.

sprache ist definitions -sache. definitions -macht. ansichts -sache. macht -definierend.

die art wie wir sprache austauschen, gestalten, fest”legen” “setzen” “stellen” stellt sich selbst in frage

lieber viele definitionen mit dem geteilten wissen keiner exakten

hier arbyte ich daran, du kannst die seite auch verändern:

The Bolo'nja Dialogues

1. Breakfast

Zott: Can you pass me the peanut butter? Em: Sure. Zott: Mmmh. Em: Delicious, right? One of my proopies, Dula, made it. Zott: Ah, how are they doing? Em: Great. They're living in Butoria now, actually, and they started making different forms of peanut specialties. Zott: Wow. I didn't know peanuts grow there. Em: Yeah, they grow them on Komona grounds. And, did you know, they have this rule in Butoriat; you're only allowed to reap if you also sow and water and plough? Zott: What, as a single person or as a proop? Em: As a proop, of course. Zott: Yeah, that would've been too ridicilous. I'm glad we don't have that here, I love how me and my proop can focus on writing and singing and still have something to eat. Em: As I see it, they just don't like the concept of sharing play or work. But hey, I don't live there so I don't really know the details. Dula just told me. Zott: Now that we're at it: I was thinking about implementing a new rule for Bolo'nja. Em: Aha. Zott: Yes, I think it would be so cool if we decided to all wear something yellow on Xorkas. Em: Haha, and I thought it would be something serious and you wanted to start lobbying or whatnot. Zott: Nooo, what do you think I am? It's just some nice ritualistic idea, otherwise I would have said so during rule session. Em: Well, you can count me in. I've always liked dressing up in a festive manner. Now, can you give me back that peanut butter?

2. Rule Session

Barscha: So, who wants to be in charge for moderating rule session today? Lork: I can do it. So, who will do the ritual and who will do notes? Em: I can do the ritual.

Barscha: Notes – Lork: Thank you. I hereby open the rule session. Em: From A to O from O to A / I wouldn't need a rule per day / From O to A from A to O / all the rules that come will go Everybody: From A to O from O to A / I will have it all my way / From O to A from A to O / together all of us can grow Em: AOAOAOAO Everybody: OAOAOAOA Em: We breathe in – and out. With every breath in we take on the new yet to come, with every breath out we leave unwanted rules and habits behind. Lork: Well, as moderator I am obliged to first read out all existing rules so far. The Rule of Rules is that not one rule is privileged over the other. The Bolo'njarule is that our conglomerate of people, space, animals, plants and proops is called Bolo'nja.
The Decisionrule is that no decision is made if not every person participating in the process agrees. The Rulessionrule is that every new moon, there is a rulesession. Every rulesession needs a ritualist, a moderator and someone taking notes. The Komonarule says that everything belongs to everyone and that everyone has the same status. Every responsibility is shared as well as every object, space, food, or knowledge. The Traderule says that noone who gives something should expect getting something for it in return and that noone who takes has to give. The Prooprule says that every Person is allowed to freely associate with any subgroup of people (alive or dead), a Proop, and have their own rules. If the rules of a proop come into conflict with a rule in Bolo'nja, any person is allowed to call in a rule session. The Rule of Boundaries says that everyone has to care for themselves and for others. Every person and proop is obliged to respect the boundaries of other persons and proops. If boundaries are crossed, the hurt ones should speak up, discuss within their proop and think of measures. The Rule of Measures says that every full moon there is a measuresession, where all proops and persons present their measures against other proops and persons. They are up for decision, however, the perpetrator(s) are not allowed to veto. The highest measure is expulsion from Bolo'nja, which has to be approved by all proops and persons. The Rule of Beans says that every Xorka, all of Bolo'nja is cooking something with beans. The Rule of Life says that knowingly killing an animal or person means the direct expulsion from Bolo'nja. The Bedrule says that every 12 days, people above the age of 15 should change to another bed to sleep in, be it alone or with other people. The Shoerule says that every person is entitled to have two pairs of shoes, socks and panties that they don't have to share. The Writingrule says that every person is entitled to a book where they keep thoughts they don't have to share. The Learningrule says that every proop is obliged to announce and hold a skillsharingsession every four days where everyone can join. Puh. Haha. Okay. Does any person have any rule they would like to change? — ok. So, does any person have a new rule to propose? Zott: Me. Lork: Speak up, then. Zott: I propose the following rule: The Yellowrule says that every Xorka, every person in Bolo'nja wears someting yellow. Hollery: Really? After the Rule of Beans? Zott: Yeah, I do like rituals. I think we could have more small everyday rituals. Grebl: So why do you propose it to be during Xorka? There is already a ritual on that day. Hollery: Yes. Why not on Raku? Zott: Ok, you're right. Let's try. Lork: So any more discussion needed? — So can the ritualist formulate the rule? Em: The Rule of Yellow says that on Raku, every person in Bolo'nja wears something yellow. Lork: Thank you. Any more new rules to propose? — Well, then may the ritualist close the rule session. Em: OAOAOAOAOA Everybody: OAOAOAOAOA Em: From O to A from A to O / all the rules that come will go / From A to O from O to A / I won't need a rule per day Everybody: From O to A from A to O / together all of us can grow / From A to O from O to A / I will have it all my way /

how to find a name for a possible city / a city of the possible?

der Unteritel bleibt Spiel und Raum. das ist schön. doch statt Polis etwas Visionäres, Traumhaftes, Utopisches (ohne es als solches zu benennen, sondern es eben einfach erschaffen und als Wirk_lichkeit zu haben, damit mit der Arbeit angefangen werden kann, statt sich auf die griechische Antike zu beziehen). research.

Anarres. Tlön. Uqbar. Abbenay. also die ganzen Sci-Fi Autorixes schaffen das ja auch also können wir das doch auch. Grethren, etwas mir -ren am Schluss fühlt sich gut an. Revren. Thren. Authren. Authren (auch geil weil k1 sich sicher ist wie aussprechen, ich mag den Glitch, den das macht)

XX ist die Stadt, die in uns ist und zwischen uns wächst. die Tools und Spiele sind Spiele aus XXX also das, woraus XX gebaut ist. dem Spiel einen grösseren Rahmen geben mit Stickern für die Städte, “du könntest jetzt in Xren sein” oder “welcome to Xren” oder “born in hamburg, living in Xren” blipblup