Augmented Play, Art, and Space
The Cognitive Coupling of Avant-Garde Games with Unexpected Mental Spaces
Based on experiences in pervasive play in media arts, this chapter questions the relationship between spatial perception and computer games from the perspective of playful, cognitive, and activist interventions. Today, in creating the artistic aspects of video games-what is known as »game art«-space is thematized as an almost meditative experience. In a series of artistic games, the concept of »flow« is induced by what are known as »walking simulators« in the architecture of games. Currently, the genre of game art is resurging in specific relation to the flow experience of virtual space, entangled with the physically experiential real space. This provides an opportunity to learn from the fields of performance art, staging, and motivational design. This is demonstrated by the art avant-garde gaming scene. In the design and connection of digital and real space-known as »hybrid reality games«-the themes of corporeality, cognition, and superimposed spatial perception become virulent. As such, a new urban game activism can be identified: one focused on bodily experience, cognition, and spatial experience. The phenomenon is slightly shifted through augmented reality, which has become standard on contemporary mobile phone devices. The political dimension of playing as a form of resistance poses a model for the future and stands for hope at the forefront of a new, meaningful play movement-which, last but not least, would also beget new fields of artistic research.