GMU:Board Games for Humans and Nonhumans

From Medien Wiki
Maike Effenberg: Bacteria after one week

Lecturer: Mindaugas Gapševičius
Credits: 6 ECTS, 4 SWS
Date: Thursday 13:30-16:45
Venue: Marienstraße 7b, Biolab (Room 202)
First meeting: Thursday, 13 April 2017; 13:30-16:45

Board games are usually designed for people, but could we think of a board game designed to be played between humans and flies or between bacteria and yeast? What about a more complex game involving humans, microorganisms and objects?

The aim of the course is to grasp the environment and interactions of chosen organism(s). While trying to understand biological sensors of living organisms (light, motion, temperature, magnetic fields, nutrients) we will envision and implement strategies for interaction between humans and nonhumans. The course will include analysis of sensorimotor activity of the selected organisms, discourses around similar artworks and discussions on interactivity in a physical environment.

The course will be held in the DIY Biolab of the Media Environments chair. The developed games will be presented during the planned show in the Fall of 2017.



Related projects

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The AI is performed by a cockroach which carries a neon-green pixel on its shoulder. Players can control their sticks but are not able to foresee the movement of the CI (cockroach intelligence)

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A Pac-Man computer game in which the virtual ghost characters are controlled by real crickets that run around in a real maze.

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Augmented Fish Reality (2003),

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Trap it!,

Museum visitors could use blue, green or red light to draw patterns on the screen and observe how the Euglena reacted. The microorganisms avoided blue light, so drawing a circle around one of the microbes would trap it, which became the name for one of the scientific mini-games

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Players earn points by guiding the Euglena through the goal posts.

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Protozoan Pacman,\
Collaboration with scientist Professor Erik Andrew Johannessen,

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Protozoa Games (2003-2008),

Protozoa Games interactive installations allow humans and live protozoa to compete in pinball-like environments mediated by digital microscope and motion tracking technologies. A digital microscope tracks the activities of a variety of live single celled animals such as stentor, paramecia, amoebae, vorticella, volvox, and rotifers and projects the images on a large screen. At the same time humans are invited to engage in various movement 'games' in the space in front of the screen.

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Blocksworld repopulated! (2016),

“The BioGame ‘Blocksworld repopulated!’ gives you the opportunity to plunge into a labyrinth populated by microorganisms that you can interact with. Instead of encountering programmed entities in ‘Blocksworld repopulated!’ you are playing with living Euglenas, uni-cellular organisms that are part plants and part animals.”

Maike Effenberg, BIO.MATCH,

Bactria are an important part of our life. We know that they in uence our health physically as well as mentally. All of us are in a constant exchange of information via bacteria. We are just starting to understand how they in uence us and how we can use them to make the world a better place. This project goes one step further and helps you to answer a sought-after asked question „How do I nd my partner for life?“. bio.match uses your bacteria to nd a partner that really matches to you. Also visit: https://

Dimitri Engelhardt, DAMOCLES,

This little habitat addresses the degeneration as essential part of the evolution and development, for filling niches.

Smin Kim, Dancing with Daphnia, ,

Installation Dancing with Daphnia invites visitor to interact with little creatures also known as water fleas. While visitor moves the hands, the aquarium is lit up with different color letting water fleas to swim back and forth. As the interaction happens between unequal creatures, the human and the water flea, the work raises up ethical issues and the visitor is suggested to think of human in regard to water flea.

Roland van Dierendonck et al

Instructions for Biotic Gaming Device assembly for Euglena,

Verena Vuori, Toys for and by Pigs,


20 % Theory
50 % Practical implementation of the project
30 % Documentation including 10% of updates in Wiki

Eligible Participants

Undergraduates and graduates enrolled in the faculties of Media and Design.