Variations on How to Play – Summer School 2023


University for Continuing Education Krems, Dr. Karl Dorrek Straße 30, 3500 Krems,
SE 1.2 and 1.4.

If you need help to find the campus / lecturing rooms pls contact Alexander Pfeiffer

Virtual participation is possible at the Conference Day on 6 July 2023. No registration necessary.

Login to Zoom (06.07.2023):
Meeting-ID: 656 0398 4151
Passcode: play2023


4. Juli 2023

09.45-13.15        Part 1                                   Interactive Narratives                                 

Nikodemus Wagner                      Space at Risk (VR Simulation)

Currently, there are about 7.500 active satellites in orbit. Global communication systems and the supply chain as the backbone of our worldwide economy would not function without them. In addition, crucial information on the ecosystem, provided by satellite data, is indispensable in times of climate change as well as for the reaction to humanitarian crises caused by natural disasters. Since the amount of satellites in orbit has doubled in the last years, traffic is becoming a huge issue, but to date there are no initiatives to regulate the circulation of objects in space. The VR simulation “Space at risk” is based on big data concerning the movement of thousands of geostationary satellites and other objects in orbit. It enables the player to experience the satellites’ trajectories and the possible risks related to the overcrowded space. Its purpose is to raise public awareness concerning this issue and to inspire debates and political action aiming at regulating this kind of traffic on the international level.

Ines Häufler  &  Juliana Neuhuber  Geh-schichten. Playful learning experiences for children

“Gehschichten” is a word creation that combines the German terms “gehen” (to go, walk) and “Geschichte” (story, history). It is the title of an interactive outdoor experience in which children have the possibility to explore a public garden in Vienna and get immersed in an adventurous story by using their mobile phone. The idea behind this learning experience is precisely to combine communication technologies, that are still treated with reserve and skepticism by traditional pedagogy, with the outdoor activity of walking around and exploring natural and urban environments. Furthermore, the designers decided to use a web-based form of programming instead of a mobile app, in order to guarantee easy, inclusive access to the contents. In this sense, the experience challenges ways of thinking and doing in the realm of didactics as well as in the realm of software design.

Sandra Fasolt-Baker                      Fred Baker: Works of a pioneer in Cinematic Reality

VR art director and producer Sandra Fasolt-Baker will present life and works of the filmmaker, artist, and author Fred Baker, a pioneering figure in Cinematic Virtual Reality. The presentation will share insights into his seminal projects, including “Klimt’s Magic Garden” and “Arthur Schnitzler Storyspheres”, shedding light on his remarkable contributions to the intersection of art, history, and technology. Fred Baker’s legacy as an Austrian-British artist, lauded for his internationally acclaimed documentaries, will also be explored.

14:15-17.45        Part 2                                   Language Games

Sören Fiedler                                   Passionate Utterances. Creativity in language games

When we use language, we want to reach goals or cause effects by communicating with others. This is called the ‘performative’ dimension of language. While the usual performative utterances like bequeathing or promising follow conditions which determine if they are felicitous or not, such conditions don’t exist for ‘passionate utterances’. Rather, one has to make room for imagination and virtuosity to make a felicitous act such as angering, encouraging, persuading, etc. someone. Thus, being creative/imaginative in our language-usage has a great variety of forms and applications, and is at the same time not something which requires exceptional skill or talent, but is something that we do every day. This contribution implements the creativity of language use into the summer school as a kind of improvisation exercise. In a dialogical setting, the participants will be given exemplary situations or ‘tasks’ of how they would evoke (via speaking) specific effects in each other, such as anger, encouragement, disappointment, embarrassment, intimidation, etc. Thus, various ways of ‘playing with language’ can be enacted, but it can also show which ways will fail to do so.

Manuel Thalhammer                    Playing with language and body in improvisational theater

In any kind of social interaction, we play roles and follow explicit or implicit scripts. There is no encounter that would not be framed by social, cultural, gender and other distinctions. Yet, there are much more subtle ways of position taking in an interaction. At a superficial glance, improvisational theater is a practice that is based on simple, stereotypical concepts of roles and situations. Taking a closer look, as a practice, it teaches us how to use language, emotional and bodily expression in highly differentiated ways. Taking up the topic of passionate utterances from Sören Fiedler’s contribution, Manuel will lead us through a series of exercises that give us the opportunity to explore language and the gestural and bodily expression of emotions as it is used in impro theater.

Jörg Piringer                                     Maschinendichtung in Theorie und Praxis

Jörg Piringer ist ein Pionier in der Beschäftigung mit automatisch generierter Dichtkunst. Seit über 25 Jahren arbeitet er auf diesem Gebiet, seine Erfahrungen mit dem Programm GPT-3 hat er in seiner jüngsten Publikation “günstige intelligenz” dokumentiert. Im Gespräch berichtet er über die Wurzeln seiner künstlerischen Auseinandersetzung im Rahmen des interdisziplinären “Instituts für transakustische Forschung” sowie von seinen vielschichtigen Experimenten im Bereich der “datenpoesie”.

Natascha Gangl                               How to feed KI to get out Natascha Gangl style

Die Autorin Natascha Gangl arbeitet seit jeher multimedial und interdsiziplinär – meist in Kooperation mit Musik, Visual Arts und Bildender Kunst. Der Einsatz von Technik im Sinne eines Interfaces für kreative Prozesse ist ihr höchst vertraut und geläufig. Kein Wunder also, dass sie sich in den letzten Wochen intensiv mit den Möglichkeiten des Chat-GPT-Programms im Hinblick auf ihre poetische Arbeit beschäftigt hat. Im Rahmen der Summer School wird sie sich eine kleine “Poetry Battle” mit dem Programm liefern: Kann die Maschine “Natascha Gangl Style”?

5. Juli  2023                                                                

09.45-13:15        Part 3                                   Cooperation/Competition Games

Günther Kainz / Klaus Neundlinger        Trust as a Game (Economics)

Trust is not merely a feeling nor a substitute for rational calculus. It is a social practice, something we establish, develop, damage or destroy by interacting with others. It is a game we play, but the crucial question is how to frame this game. Behavioral economics has shown that people, under certain conditions, are more willing to trust others than the classical economic approach would deem to be rational. In this contribution, the participants will be asked to experience their propensity to trust others in interactions based on uncertainty. We will then explain how trust can be furthered in specific socioeconomic contexts and which rules and governance forms have to be established in the case of the use of common pool resources.

Eva-Maria Stöckler / Helmut Neundlinger           “Confusion is part of the game”. Meta-Kompetenzen in komplexen Umgebungen

Im Rahmen einer interdisziplinären Forschungsgruppe an der UWK wird seit geraumer Zeit der Frage nachgegangen, wie ein aktives und lernbasiertes Handeln in sogenannten VUCA-Worlds möglich ist. VUCA steht für “volatility (Volatilität), uncertainty (Ungewissheit), complexity (Komplexität) und ambiguity (Ambiguität)”. Die Forschungsgruppe reflektiert und exploriert jene Kompetenzen, welche eine neue Form der Handlungsfähigkeit in immer unsicherer werdenden Umgebungen erzeugen. Mit den Begriffen “iterative learning, resilient improvisation, dynamic viability, and sustainable innovation” hat das interdisziplinäre Konsortium vier Konzepte herausgearbeitet, die für einen solchen Prozess zentral sind. Eva Stöckler wird nicht zuletzt über die praktischen Erfahrungen mit Mustern künstlerischer Improvisation innerhalb der Gruppe berichten.

Thomas Layer-Wagner (support Klaus Neundlinger)     EduXscape: AR-Game for team development

Teamwork requires two forms of collective reflexivity. One regards the division of tasks, clarity, goal orientation, adaptability, alignment and coordination. The other is related to the social dimension and regards mutual support,conflict resolution, knowledge exchange, appreciation and the ability to act in concert. Teams have to develop these forms of reflexivity in a deliberate way. EduXscape is a learning experience designed in Augmented Reality that puts teams into a playful situation, inspired by SF, in which they have to overcome challenges and resolve problems in the form of an escape room dramaturgy. In this contribution, participants will have the possibility to play the escape room and will engage in reflections, together with the designers, on the transferability of the learning experience to team situations.

14:15-16:15        Part 4                                   Institutional RPGs

Mo Li                                                    How to act as a filmmaker in China, Game Creation Workshop

Mo Li is a Ph.D. candidate at the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain. She was born and raised in China, currently based in Europe. She is planning to host an innovative game design workshop based on her insightful paper “From DVD to Cloud Drive.” The paper provides an in-depth examination of the evolution of independent filmmaking in mainland China. Join us in this workshop to create a unique role-playing game that simulates the challenges faced by filmmakers in China. Put yourself in the shoes of filmmakers and discover censorship rules, government regulations and cultural sensitivities through interactive gameplay. All levels of gaming experience are warmly welcomed in this workshop! Whether you’re a first-time gamer or an experienced player, your participation is highly valued.

6. Juli    Conference / Hybrid on-site and zoom

09.45-16:00                        Part 5                                   CONFERENCE

09:45-10:00                        OPENING           

10:00 – 10:30                      Sören Fiedler                      Beyond convention.
Playing with speech acts

10:35- 11:35                       Heike Gfrereis                  Umrahmen: Überlegungen zu interaktiven


11:40 – 12:10                      Youn Joo Oh                         Gamifying Statistics

13:30 – 14:00                    Mo Li                 Underground Filmmaking in China

14:05 – 14:35                  Sonja Gabriel                     “Valuable” Games in   Edu. (via zoom)                  

14:40 – 15:45                     Alexander Pfeiffer            AI in Media, Arts & Design

15:45-16:00                        Closing Words

Call for contributions – Variations on How to Play (You can still send us abstracts for the book, even without giving a talk.)

Summer School, July 4th – 6th 2023

Call for Contributions

The Summer School addresses the question of what it means to relate to the world in terms of ‘playing’ from a transdisciplinary perspective. The problem of how to behave, how to make decisions, how to plan, organize and realize one’s aims is not limited to the realm of games, but relevant to many other fields. In this sense, ‘how to play’ implies strategic thinking as well as imagining possible solutions to a problem; it implies habits and patterns that determine how interactions evolve in a given field; it implies empathizing and cooperating with others as well as competing against them; it implies rules to be respected as well as disrespecting or breaking rules and introducing new ones. It means looking for scope, margin or leeway in order to realize plans and make things work.

In this sense, ‘How to play’ involves relating to possible worlds, not only in games, but also in science, technology, humanities, and economics, as well as in the field of work and organizations. It involves relating to possible worlds in the arts: in visual arts and design, but also in music, literature and curating. We want to look at how people interact with collections and how games can be used as a tool to understand the process of collecting and curating cultural artefacts. By relating to the world, do we look for chance or for determination, for freedom and creativity or for binding rules? Competition or cooperation, sticking to rules for being creative or being creative without rules, strategy and premeditation or tactics and improvisation: all these are attitudes by which we relate to the world and to others. They enable us to make sense out of our actions and interactions. Competitive, collaborative, planning or improvising or other playing attitudes are realized in the practices of the various fields, in arts, sciences, economics, culture, politics and so on. Within the fields, these attitudes can also become objects of contention and reflection.

The Summer School aims to establish transdisciplinary perspectives on how possible worlds evolve in different specialized fields in the context of play. Therefore, we invite scholars, students and practitioners from all disciplines to reflect on modes of playing within their field. We ask participants to prepare examples in form of short inputs in an open, inclusive, and non-specialist language. We especially encourage professionals and practitioners to participate.

Contributions should refer, but are not limited, to the following questions:

  1. In which ways are habits and patterns established and reproduced?
  2. Are there any conventions or debates on how not to play? Are there sanctions if established playing modes are disrespected? What are the positive aspects of rule-breaking?
  3. Which modes of playing characterize the way new ideas, concepts, behaviors are generated? How are explorative and experimental processes organized?
  4. How do relationships between players evolve? Are there recognizable explicit or implicit rules? Are there recognizable patterns that form ‘cultures’ of dealing with each other?
  5. How do influence, power and resources relate to the modes of playing?

In special reference with the Department for Arts and Cultural Studies at the Faculty of Education, Arts and Architecture we like to inspire with the following set of questions:

  1. How can collection studies inform the design of game environments, characters, and inventory systems?
  2. How can the interactive nature of games be used to create unique collecting and curatorial, archival, visual and digital memory experiences?
  3. How do players interact with collections or archives in games and how does this differ from real-life collections?
  4. How do games allow players to curate and create their own collections or archives in the virtual world?
  5. How can collections and archives be used as a source of inspiration and material for game development?

The aim is also to publish a book. This book will be the first part of a new publication series of the Department for Arts and Cultural Studies at the Faculty of Education, Arts and Architecture. We will offer two tracks. The academic track with peer reviews and the project and experience track by editorial review. Concerning possible contributions, we especially encourage scholars of (digital) archives, digital memory studies and collection studies, as these are the core disciplines of our department. In our publication, we want to discuss and reflect how people interact with collections and how games can be used as a tool to understand the process of collecting and curating cultural artefacts. A sample of specific questions following downwards may help in creating abstracts.

If you are interested, we cordially invite you to submit an abstract (300-500 words) until 30th of March 2023 to and

The summer school is organised by.:

University for Continuing Education Krems

Department for Arts and Cultural Studies at the Faculty of Education, Arts and Architecture

Center for Applied Game Studies, University for Continuing Education Krems
Archives of Contemporary Arts Collection of Literary Estates

Organized in cooperation with the institute for cultural excellence research.


Alexander Pfeiffer

Head of Emerging Technology Experiences Lab, University for Continuing Education Krems

Natalie Denk

Head of the Center for Applied Game Studies, University for Continuing Education Krems

Helmut Neundlinger

Head of Archives of Contemporary Arts Collection of Literary Estates

Klaus Neundlinger

Head of Research, institute for cultural excellence research