Hello everyone, my name is Augusto Pirovano, I live in Milan, in Italy and I’m new on Edgeryders (although I have heard so much from Alberto). I would like to intervene in this mission because this is precisely the field in which I measured in the last 5 years.
With 2 other friends we made a project called CriticalCity Upload: a game of urban transformation that uses a web platform and asks its players to perform creative missions. So far CCU is not very different from Edgeryders, the fact is that the missions are - instead of stories and reflections to write and share with others as it is on Edgeryders - creative actions that are generally performed in the public spaces of cities. The player picks the mission, shuts down the computer, gets out on the street, plays the mission, collects the necessary proof of his experience and then, after returning home, publishes the mission attaching photos and videos. As the player gets points, he levels up until he reaches level 7 and wins the Mechanical Box (a mysterious box that is delivered at his home).
Some examples of missions:
“Segnaletica obliqua” is a mission that requires you to invent a new road sign, build it and install it in your city. The image shows the construction of the sign that says “duty of greeting your neighbor while waiting for the bus”. The sign reads: “each traveler is obliged to greet arriving or leaving, the other passengers waiting at the bus stop. Any abuse will NOT be punished.”
“Pubblico soggiorno” requires you to make a living room in a square. As you go towards the higher level missions (there are 10 levels in CCU) missions are increasingly demanding to leave the house, coordinate with your friends and other players, perform in the public spaces of the city and interact with strangers. The image tells the story of what happened in Bologna between the two towers, on a spring day in which CCU players created a public living room, moving from house seats, cushions, lampshades, rugs, hot tea and biscuits and giving the space to all the people passing by. Obviously when you organize something like this, the unexpected is often the best thing, as in this case in the late afternoon, a Czech cellist was passing by with his instruments and players asked him to stop and play for them. Result: a sonata for cello improvised between the two towers, before the sunset with hundreds of citizens crowded around to enjoy the unexpected party.
“Orizzonti di Neon” asks to paint a chair in vibrant color and install it in a public place that has a beautiful view. The performance shown was made in Rome at the Pincio park.
This mission is called “The sound of the earth” and asks to make a musical instrument from a vegetable. We found on the internet a series of videos on Youtube of a Chinese guy that teaches you how to create one step by step … and it works! The mission ended then with the first (and so far last) appearance of “Pinzimonio Band” in Milan’s central station where dozens of players have organized a concert of vegetables, which ended in a collective dip at the end when everybody ate his own musical instrument.
Finally, “Sfumature carminio per un nodo” asks to go to a “Node” - these are special places special in the game and there are about 50 throughout Italy and in some foreign cities - dressed in red. The performance shown was done by a guy who came specially from Venice with his Cosplayer costume to achieve the mission in the “Node Paolo Sarpi - Milan 01”.
In these years I must admit that we have not made many reflections on the theory behind what we do. But there is something we understood that we would like to share with you:
- The presence of a common helps to build another one: in our case a free Internet, with free services (such as. YouTube) allows us to improve and act on another common that is dear to us: cities’ public spaces. So perhaps there is a multiplicative factor when a new public good is made available to all (not only the direct effects on its users, but also on all those other services that can be build on top of that common). Similarly privatizing or eliminating public goods is likely to have multiplicative negative effects on our society.
- If you work on commons, the absence of the profit motivation can be an important factor in order to gain the trust of your community. This is one of the reason why CCU is a non-for-profit project.
- If you work on a common good and you build around it a community of people passionate about it, a large margin of freedom generally doesn’t generate anarchy, but positive effects. With CriticalCity Upload, for example, after a year and a half of activity, 13,000 missions carried out by more than 8,000 different players from all over Italy, not even one act of vandalism has happened and the community is very careful and protective about what other players do in their city.
- We can do many more things than we generally think. This means for example that you can achieve - albeit with great effort - a project as ambitious as CCU in 2012 in Italy. And, in the same way, a lot of missions that have a positive impact but that would be technically illegal (for example, "pubblico soggiorno" which asks for an afternoon to make a living room in a square of your city) can be done without receiving fines or be evicted, maybe with some common sense and some extra smiles!