Urban Game @OpenVillage Festival

Following the suggestion from @noemi I would love to share and propose to realize an Urban Game during the first afternoon of the Festival both as a strategy to faster enter in touch with the participant and also as a way to explore the opencare themes in a non-conventional and non-“conferential” way.

An Urban Game is usually a playful activity that takes place in public spaces, here is a comprehensive list of urban games (from street games to pervasive games) and some definition.

In the past I’ve contributed to create various urban games that managed to start conversations around complex topics and enlarged the community interested on that.


Maybe is interesting to share a case study, which is the Basilicata Border Games, that we designed and produced in the summer of 2013 in Basilicata, Italy.

Basically the goal of the game was to spread themes and topics that were part of the Matera 2019 candidacy also to those segment of the society that usually weren’t involved in the conversation.

We decided to design and set up a pacific and creative invasion of 4 Basilicata’s major cities, occupying the city center and playing in the various neighborhood during the day.

Games and tasks that we played weren’t directly connected to the Matera Candidacy Dossier contents, but because of the shock and non alignment of the performance, we managed to bring the people in the street and THEN starting the conversation about the candidacy.

I think that a similar strategy could work also during the OpenVillage Festival, but maybe we can push a little further the experiment and try also to perform activities and games directly related to the topic of the Festival.

Noemi states “our aim with the game is to collectively learn and demonstrate in practical ways different aspects of care - new and open practices, products, relationships between participants in an ecosystem.”

A format that we already tested various times and we could adapt for the Festival is called Incognito Battleclash, is an urban game in which teams (made by 10 to 15 people) compete against the time with the main goal of completing a set of creative and interactive tasks.

Game Dynamics
Every team will receive a secret envelopes where they will find the list of tasks that they have to complete, with a fixed score. Envelopes will be delivered in 5 times in 5 different locations of the city. Every team will testify the accomplishment of the tasks through the use of a sport camera (GoPro) and their own mobile devices (we could use WhatsApp or Telegram to collect all the materials).

Duration and timing
The experience will last for a total of 4 hours, divided as the following: Intro > rules, team creation, tools test > 30 minutes Game > 5 envelopes in 5 different locations > 2.30 hours (one envelope every 30 minute) Closing > Chill out time, mission’s review, prize moment, 45 minutes It must to be considered at least a 15 minutes delay gap.

Urban Route
In order to fit the Open Village format, the game could start in the location of the Festival (the easiest way to have all the participants ready to go), and finish at a dinner location or a pub, where the player could have the opportunity to interact, share stories and chill out. The Open Village location could also be a great ending locations, players could leave their things there and play more freely, and we will then explore the surroundings of the area.
Usually checkpoint are located at 15 to 20 minutes walking distance and connected with path that could cross public spaces, parks or pedestrian areas.

Incognito Battleclash is not exactly in line with the goal that we want to reach, so maybe could be cool to come up with a different name?

The tasks design will be based on the Open Village contents in order to achieve a tasks-list of 25 missions, divided between the 5 envelopes and organized in a crescendo.
Health, citizen science, care, body fitness will be mixed with funny and interactive tasks, to involve also passer-by and citizens.

We will have a massive amount of video/pictures and other player generated materials that could be helpful to describe and share the topics of the Festivals.

The tasks/creative missions are the core of the game, and could lead the experience in one or in the other direction (simple fun vs serious game).

Then probably the best way to understand that is starting throwing ideas about the tasks lists and see how far or how close we are from the Festival topics.

Incognito Battleclash is an already tested format (we did it in Roma few month ago with 50 people), but we can also imagine something more complex (single urban games in the different Checkpoints?).


I have a feeling Brussels might be a right place for urban games. Lots of young people, plenty of places to lounge about, Belgian surrealism & playfulness. …

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Sounds great! Will think about a name. Thanks for all the work.

Yay, I’m a big fan of city games :slight_smile: we dabbled in it ourselves in our city of Ghent a few years ago with a cat-and-mouse style Vampire Hunting city game.

There is another session that we’re planning to be somewhere in the city: @albertorey 's fly fishing demo. Is there a way to make that part of the city game? Eg.

We were also hoping to do some DIY water quality analysis during that session. I think there’s plenty of potential to do small citizen science projects during the game :slight_smile: . Anything that produces data, basically: air quality, quantity and type of trash on the ground, dangerous obstacles for bikes, spotting bird nests, collecting urban fossils. Pinging @rachel as well.

Not sure if the tempo of the two activities would clash or not. City games are hectic in my experience, while I envision the fly fishing as a relaxation moment.


Here some suggestions, i’m not a native speaker so i’m not sure if they works in english.

Village Invasion
Open Ground

I love the concept of derive so wander/drift are words that sounds cool.
And also the concept of Village / City / Playground.

What do you think?


Hei Winnie, thanks for all the suggestions!

About the fishing demo, that’s interesting and i’m sort of agree with you that usually Urban Games are very active and fast, you are playing against the time.
Maybe one way to incorporate that in the game too could be to think it like one of the Checkpoint between the missions, that are spaces and interactions that are calmer, so maybe if the spot where this activity will take place is in the game area we can insert it like that.

About the DIY analysis and citizen science, do you think that is possible to have also some experience that is not tech related, do you have links or suggestions so I can dig deeper on that?


Okay! I’m going to Brussels to scout for a suitable location for the fly fishing in the vicinity of the venue.

What do you mean by citizen science that is not tech related @matteo_uguzzoni ? Something like citizen psychological science?

Another idea that might be fun: seeds bombs or guerilla mycology. Planting plants or mushrooms in public spaces. No effect during the festival, but fun anyway to know that something might be there in a year, can even revisit it at some point.

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Yeah, maybe I need some links to example of citizen science, like can you scan air data without devices? Or check water hardness without filters or devices (yes more than tech probably I was thinking about devices)…
Guerrilla actions > great!!

There is not much without devices. Smartphones are usually the lowest tech way. Like this litter tagging project → https://openlittermap.com/

Then there’s many where you are required to send pictures of snails, birds, … to map biodiversity. These biology projects are usually fun and have a community around them, but to be honest, most other existing low-tech projects are low-tech because the organizers have designed them that way. They are a dumbed down version of the actual scientific research and citizens are invited to participate within the (limited) possibilities the scientists carefully designed. Participants are just human sensors or data processors.

This goes against the citizen science we put in the spotlight during the festival, where citizens are active agents in every phase of the research from ideation over planning all the way to conclusions. This is more intense and inevitably involves technology. We’ll have demos in the program so it’s not necessary to put them in the urban game.

That being said, we can also design our own ‘citizen science’ project around anything that can be measured. Think correlating driver friendliness with car price range, checking cleanliness of public toilets, I don’t know. Designing the project can be part of the game, though I’m not sure how hard it is or how long it takes to think up something that makes sense. Would love to see us try though @matteo_uguzzoni !

Not sure. “Wanderaze” I don’t even understand. I am no native speaker myself, but “Drifted” also sounds a bit borderline as “drift” is not a transitive verb. Shame, because I like that one. You might like “adrift” (“alla deriva”).

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Do you think that we could add adrift with other words or it’s enough by himself.
Amaze Drift
City Adrift

I think that smartphones are enough (the palyers will use it anyway during the game), and maybe because we are starting the Festival we can also go with the “mapping” approach, besides it’s pretty basic (with humans as sensors/data processors)…then during the Festival they can go deeper and discover all the process. It’s like a tutorial / entry level on the topic.

What do you think?

Not sure, Matteo. I suck at this naming thing. :slight_smile:

i Don’t know maybe @unknown_author has some ideas. or @kate_g :)) Meet @Sabouny and @Yosser btw, they’re into clowning and we’re chatting in the OpenVillage MENA conversation.

Argh before I forget, have you seen this? http://openvillage.edgeryders.eu/workshop/ Didn’t you say something about Jordan?

some citizen science can include cleaning up your favourite environment - but quantitatively! our colleagues from ‘hammerdirt’ had already been cleaning beaches, with a focus on quantitative statistics, but as lifeguards, they were also concerned about skin rashes and gastro-intestinal illnesses that were more frequently occurring each summer. At Hackuarium, we helped them get started on systematic microbial analyses of local waters … (lake and river, and we even recently had an amazing visit to their local sewage treatment plant)
Here are a couple of links:
We repeated the lake water sampling this year, and I hope to be able to talk about our compiled results at the festival…


Hi all, great exciting developments!

We printed labyrinth stamped seed bombs for our COP21 Cascade and attached messages to them. It was playful and cheap. http://cascade.network/glitchy-transmissions-from-the-now/ Could organise getting some seeds printed before the Open Village? What would tie in with the theme I wonder?

I love the idea of guerilla mycology - really happy to help with this.

Reading deeper into this thread, fully supporting the emphasis on active agents.

I posted the comment below on slowness a few weeks back (copied it in below). & since then have been having lots of conversations about time - some people emphasising “just doing and doing now” and others emphasising “slow process & the long view”. They feel complementary perspectives: acting fast, but doing so with a vision of the long-term & that some work / relationships / studies / projects bear fruit over serious time. One of the most illuminating points came from a musician who said that to play super-fast musical passages it was necessary to get his body into a very slow state. There’s something here about time mastery.

So I wonder whether there’s a bubble of slowness that can be grown inside this fast-paced Incognito Battleclash idea? @matteo_uguzzoni

Towards supporting @winnieponcelet ‘s fly fishing perhaps?

Or guerilla mycology/ seed bomb idea? Planting plants or mushrooms in public spaces, record the points they were planted, returning months later - documenting slow process… Seeds planted…

I love the citizen psychological science suggestion. Maybe some of the info collected from the public can be about people’s experience - ie they’re experience living in the area - perceptions of care - support… Human experience as part of the biodiversity. Might all tie in well with the local collective intelligence / local wifi system.

Faranak Mirjalili and me will collect dreams from attendees at the Open Village meeting in morning sessions.

& wow! This water project is impressive. Know little of the watershed in Brussels so can’t input on that. But really interested to hear more about http://www.plagespropres.ch/
Micro to Macro Water Pollution - Hackuarium
at the festival.

"Part of the cascade project was around slow culture hacks. Activism that emphasises changing the pace of the city and foregrounding presence, vulnerability and the beauty of the earth. The dance groups on the streets for the COP21 shifted me.

Been thinking about action on the streets & since culture is obsessed with excitement - anything too high paced is likely just to feed the machine and be yet another ride on the wheel… For where there is hectic business, there is all the distraction, blindness and madness of this suicidal culture. This sense that “the time is now” can be met by something present. Instead of putting that intense feeling into multiple short-lived projects, to make energy matter. To use energy with real intention. One way of spreading courage and alternatives is to be in total presence. What about an action that expressed a great slowing down into presence during the Open Village? Slowing down the pace of the streets with movement. Done a few things like this before - I led a slow motion walk up Oxford high street in the last decade to protest the Iraq war. So - what about a short workshop and then an action of dancing slowly (in whatever your style) in the streets? Gifting pieces of fruit to passers by? A way of spreading the invitation. I’ve made mistakes in the past about acting before the time is ripe. Doing too much. In rushed ways. Not preparing long enough to really pull it off. There is a mastery to carpe diem - in plucking the day when it is ripe. If that can tie in with urban game you are working on - great - I’m on for this & looking out for times and places for this creative plan."

/// In the wilds of Portugal and little connectivity here unfortunately - will check in with this conversation next week ///


Back online & excited to print up some seed bombs :slight_smile:

& FYI - there’s a GREAT relevant open call in Brussels (deadline end of October) that could be a place to develop creative instigations further…

From ecological transition to degrowth and the effective use of art
Based on an examination of artisanal practices and new forms of food production, the foundation invites visual artists, curators, designers and chefs to submit a project on the theme of deceleration, that explores concepts for the collaborative economy (recycling, textiles, 3D creation, food…) and has a social impact.

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Nice! Maybe what we do during the Urban Game can serve as inspiration and prototype for something in this call? :slight_smile:

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Yeah, a rare call looking to fund exactly this kind of initiative. Happy to join a call on urban game plans towards some prepping b4 October - seed printing etc. @winnieponcelet @matteo_uguzzoni Just ping me when time opens up.