Don’t Shut Up, Don’t Sit Down; Agency, Gamification and Participation
Instructor: Pablo Silva Saray
Credits: 6 ECTS, 2 SWS
Capacity: max. 10 students
Language: English
Location: Online (Discord, MIRO, BigBlueButton)
First Meeting: 12.10.2021 / 18:00

The first class will take place on Tuesday 18.10.21 at 18:00 through the Discord Server:

Don’t Shut Up, Don’t Sit Down; Agency, Gamification and Participation, is a Fachmodul focused on a multidisciplinary approach that includes and requires the participation of different professionals and students. For the winter semester 21-22, the course expects to have a collaborative session joint with the Architecture and Urban Transformations -NEWROPE- chair at ETH Zürich, another with the Chaal Chaal Agency at Ahmedabad, India, and a couple of guest lectures still to be arranged.


By implementing gamification strategies, it is possible to establish collaboration and research spaces that support and inform the spatial design and collective places. The deficiency and scarcity of spaces for collaboration and free exercise of collective rituals required by any community may be rooted in the negligence and incapacity of the administration entities in charge of its planning and supply. These circumstances lead many of these communities and their Actors to take responsibility for these spatial constructions, many in precarious conditions but not short of understanding or initiative. As External Actors of such groups, some planning practitioners can play a role in creating the institutional support needed for collective learning, spatial intervention, and design. However, those who wish to contribute to such collective projects must be aware of incoherent positions within the dynamics of the social groups that make up the collective. Thus, a distant and abstract understanding of the dilemmas and concerns of the communities does not contribute to the required project solutions. Therefore, establishing study parameters joined by the community infrastructural or collective projects of different scales must be a central objective for any External Actor. Such parameters must seek to include the representative groups that make up the community, but that inclusion cannot be only in name or through simple statistical methods; on the contrary, the parameters must nourish active and committed participation. To motivate such endeavor, it is possible to use game mechanisms and dynamics - even in contexts outside the game itself - seeking to transform the individual understanding of collective problems into empowerment resources. This principle for research allows us to use gamification methods in the study of the city. Finding the elements that foster collaboration and commitment amid seemingly alien activities makes it possible to make community participation a study exercise. Thus, through gamification strategies, it is possible to understand the constant dynamics of the community and abstract them into mechanisms that collectively raise questions about the faced challenges. These questions are structured together as a game. The participants can propose answers and alternatives in a comprehensive context while confronting and accepting parameters from other community agents. Gamification is not intended to lead participants to seemly childish fantasies; on the contrary, it seeks to commit the imagination with reality and nourish bottom-up participation projects. Furthermore, within this paradigm of emerging tools, citizens -as core participants and constructors of the city- are continuously evolving through these networks and in order to take active roles as open, resilient, and smart citizens (Barns 2020; Hemment and Townsend 2013).


Establish collaboration methods in the project process in specific communities and their requirements for collective spaces, using gamification strategies as a study, mediation, and empowerment tool. Thus, the practical objective of the course is the instrumentalization of spatial interventions that formulate a design and gamification methodology capable of collecting the input that the Resilient-Smart Citizen shares with his/her active participation in the physical space. Furthermore, as the project intends to establish communication links with the formal urban planning processes, the physical means of designed interventions and the information collected may give rise to other interaction mechanisms and network proposals that have the street level citizens at the center of resilient, sustainable, ethical, and agency open Cities. Although the project results should not be specifically built on site, it is expected that the tools obtained during the development of the course will allow students to propose spatial abstractions and artistic proposals that exist either in digital or analog media.


• Propose means of spatial abstraction that can be shared in a concrete way and culminate in interventions that contribute to the most important discussions of the social context to which the students belong.
• Develop a sophisticated and localized understanding of what history is vis-a-vis memory, in terms of mechanisms that affect everyday life.
• Develop a better understanding of space, not only as a delimited space but also as a virtual, symbolic, and abstract space.
• Explore non-traditional design tools.
• Approach art as a communication and language system that in turn allows non-tacit forms of interaction.


Open to: Architecture, Urbanism, Medienkunst/-gestaltung, Mediaarchitecture, Public Art a New Artistic Strategies.
Participants must have an interest in the history and theory of art and architecture. They must also be willing to do intensive fieldwork, interact with diverse audiences, research, and work collaboratively with others. Although the course is primarily aimed at architecture, art, and design students from the Media art and design and Mediaarchitecture Masters, it is open to anyone interested in the subject.



The final project will be communicated immediately after the Midterm evaluation, this will be a group* and interdisciplinary project based on the theoretical classes of the course. The final project will be 40% of the final grade.
The criteria for the final evaluation are the following:
• Documentary richness and diversity of the research.
• Coherence and relevance of the structured narrative.
• Cohesion with the topics addressed.
• Communication skills.
• Graphic quality.
Class attendance will be 40% and Midterm assessment will be 20%.


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• Augé, Marc (1995). Non-places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity. London: Verso.
• Barns, Sarah (2020). Platform Urbanism: Negotiating Platform Ecosystems in Connected Cities. Singapore: Palgrave Macmillan.
• Betsky, Aaron (2005). ‘From Box to Intersection: Architecture at the Crossroads’, in Disappearing Architecture: From Real to Virtual to Quantum, eds Georg Flachbart and Peter Weibel. Berlin: Birkhauser.
• Gabrys, Jennifer (2016). Program Earth: Environmental Sensing Technology and the Making of a Computational Planet. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press
• Hemment, Drew; Townsend, Anthony (Eds.) (2013). Smart Citizens. Manchester: FutureEverything. • Hill, Jonathan (2006). Immaterial Architecture. London: Routledge
• Hughes, Francesca (2014). The Architecture of Error. Matter, Measure, and the Misadventures of Precision. Cambridge: MIT Press
• Iyer, Jenée (2017). The Heart of Smart Cities: A Case for the Relevance of Art in Data Driven Cities. Arts Management & Technology Laboratory, Carnegie Mellon University
• Jacobs, J. (1958). Downtown is for people. In The Editors of Fortune (Ed.). The exploding Metropolis: A study of the assault on urbanism and how our cities can resist it. New York: Doubleday Anchor Books
• Karandinou, Anastasia (2013). No Matter: Theories and Practices of the Ephemeral in Architecture. Surrey: Ashgate Publishing Limited
• Kapp, Karl M. (2013). The Gamification of Learning and Instruction Fieldbook: Ideas into Practice. San Francisco: Wiley
• Littwin, Karolina; Stock, Wolfgang G. (2020).Signaling Smartness: Smart Cities and Digital Art in Public Spaces. JISTaP, Journal of Information Science Theory and Practice
• Mitchell, William J. (2003). Me++: The Cyborg Self and the Networked City. Cambridge: MIT Press
• Nishat, Awan, Schneider, Tatjana, Till, Jeremy (2011). Spatial Agency: Other Ways of Doing Architecture. London: Routledge
• • Skaff Elias, Garfield, Gutschera (2012). Characteristics of Games. Cambridge: MIT Press.