Lightpainting und politische Kommunikation

2015 das Jahr des Lichts. Viele Konferenzen nehmen das Thema der Unesco auf. Auch die „International Conference on Communication and Light„.

International conference on Communication and Light

Ihr call for papers hat mich inspiriert Lightpainting unter dem Aspekt der (politischen) Kommunikation zu denken:

Lighting up the darkness, shooting energy balls, growing angel wings, leaving graffiti without trace … With the photo art technique „light painting“ you can create unbelievable images which you can use to communicate ideas in an exceptional way.
When you take a long exposure photo (10s+) in relative darkness you can paint with light like with a brush on canvas. In the session I discuss several topics connected to this technique which results in photos which look like computer generated while only using old photo tricks.
Already Picasso painted with light. Light painting is nothing new. But with the digital photo technology it has become much easier since you do not have to wait till the photos are developed giving you the possibly to correct the setup for your next picture.

Currently a second revolution shakes light painting scene. So far light painter were quite proud that their photos looked like they could only have been created with the use of computers (while actually modifying them in Photoshop and co. is actually frowned upon). But thanks to technical advances and Kickstarter campaigns, computer-controlled lights give the artists entirely new possibilities. With the you can simply „print“ any graphics in „real“ environments (samples). But do the additional opportunities weigh the loss of a part of the „analog“ touch of light painting?

Roughly 200 visitors of the re:publica 2015 set the light painting world record.

Another focus of the session is light painting and political communication. With the help of thousands of participants the speaker just set the light painting world record at the re:publica conference about digital society. Instantly after being taken the photo went trending on twitter, meaning it was the most talked on topic on twitter in Germany. With light painting you can involve people to paint their messages in thin air. You can draw a political message anywhere without leaving a physical trace. In guerilla lighting art performances this “jester’s license” is used to put a spotlight on neglected urban objects. Dark corners are “illuminated” giving evidence of a different reality.

During the session we discuss various techniques and applications for light painting. But additional to theoretical aspects we will go practical, dim the lights and make some photos ourselves. So bring lights (smart phones will also work). And if we are enough, we might even break the world record.

Update: My paper was accepted. Seems I am going to Portugal.

Meine Lightpaint Webseite:

Anti War Games?

There are great anti war films which leave you with the feeling „never again“. But how about games? In all ego shooters I know disabling enemies (by killing them) is the core element and therefore has to be fun. Otherwise the game would not be played and bought. So can anti war games (even ego shooter ones) work?

Yesterday I wrote about a leaked U.S. military video closely resembling the level „Death From Above“ from Call of Duty 4.
There is another game the leaked video reminded me of: It is the free flash game September 12th by newsgaming. In this game you can also bring death from above, in this case to „insurgent looking“ as well as unarmed inhabitants of a middle eastern town. But every time you kill a civilian, others gather to moan him and turn into insurgent themselves. The indirect controls are designed so you can’t only kill the gunners – so the longer you play the higher rises the rate of insurgents.
Coming back to the question „can anti war games work“? September 12th is anti war, but is it a game? You can’t win or loose. It is more an interactive caricature than a game.
September 12th is not fun to play – similar to an anti war movie which is usually not fun to watch. Big budged anti war movies can be commercially sucessfull in a free market, but I don’t see that happening for big budged anti war games.
I have heard a project to make an anti war (or a least war critic) ego shooter. I am thrilled to find out how it will achieve being anti war while being fun to play.

Virtual and real deaths

Wikileaks released a U.S. Military video showing the killing of 16 civilians including two Reuters Photographers. Please note that the video is very disturbing and graphic (link). Why I write on it here? It looks and sounds VERY similar to the Call of Duty level „Death From Above“ (game play video) which made it even more disturbing for me. I thought about why that might be the case.
I think the reason is that I felt guilty that I enjoyed playing the level. Back then I already had a bad feeling noticing the cold blooded commentaries and the unrealistic easy distinction between „good“ and „bad“ fighters as well as neutral civilians. But playing the level still was great fun. And that I felt that fun makes me feel sick now.
It might be interesting to use both videos when discussing media usage with young adults.

Interview on mobile storytelling

„Spielwiese“ is a new format on the German On-3-Radio on innovative digital media. For their second episode they interviewed me about the topic mobile storytelling.

During the interview we played a mission created by teenagers during my latest media education project at the Multikulturellen Jugendzentrum (more about the project).

You can listen to the episode online (its in German).
To play the file either use this direct link or do it the propper way by
  1. clicking here
  2. and then scrolling down to „Komm spiel mit uns“ and pressing „play“ there

The interview is between 29:20 and 35:40.

They also released filmed footage of the interview. But there is not much info in there. Just us playing GPS Mission and occasionally cracking bad jokes.

Amanita Design does it again with "Machinarium"

We at Neodelight were big fans of Samorost by Amanita Design and happy we could feature it on
So I was excited about their latest game „Machinarium„. And I can say I really, really enjoyed playing it. Can’t remember feeling so moved by a game as during the last screens, when I had freed the robot girlfriend, knowing it would be over soon.
Kudos to for making the game so challenging (riddles) and accessible (one button design, included walk through, Flash) at the same time.
From what I hear sales of Machinarium here in Germany seem to be pretty good. It makes me very happy that Amanita therefore does not only get the critical reception they deserve.
If you are interested in the creation of Machinarium check out Machinarium Deconstructed or this little interview.
Amanita also did a little serious game for BBC called „Questionaut„. Feels good :-).
So guys, keep up the great work! You are an inspiration to many others out there.

Mobile Storytelling

Did you ever stumble on the term „Mobile Storytelling“? It basically refers to storytelling technology that incorporates awareness of locative, spatial and contextual factors in mobile interactive environments. GPS Mission, which I use in my latest project, is an app you can use for mobile storytelling.

If you are interested in the topic offers a comprehensive resource for all things (apps, companies…) connected to it.

Mr. X Mobile

Have you played the classic boardgame Scotland Yard/Mr. X.

A mobile game version is in development by the University of Bonn.
For more info (mostly in German) check out:
The game sounds promising, hope I can test it soon.
Update: I had the possibility in several settings with teenagers and it worked very well. For me the best „spontaneous“ game yet. And it works with Android and on the iPhone.