Ludic Meanders through Defictionalization: The Narrative Mechanics of Art Games in the public spaces of politics.

Published in: Beat Suter, Renè Bauer, Mela Kocher (eds.), (2021). Narrative Mechanics. Strategies and Meanings in Games and Real Life. What do stories in games have in common with political narratives? Transcript Verlag Zürich.

In the following article we will meander. This is precisely the narrative mechanism that is used to outwit complex content. It happens mainly in public space online, in the agora of politics, and physically in the arena of the urban games in our daily lives, which has changed drastically in the times of the pandemic.


This papers is published in the ZHdK Book: DDE Publikation – Franke Björn (ed.) 2020: Not at Your Service: Manifestos for Design, Zurich. (English und Deutsch in einem pdf).


The Art of Play and Societal Impact is introduced in this manifesto as a tool for commenting on and intervening in social and political questions and the challenges of climate change. The design of play objects has an impact on everyday life in society, simply through the presence and daily use of play in relation to our social life and behaviour, has an impact on our daily lives. The impact factor of ludic objects is not measured, but present in discursive reflections in the field of artistic research.

The ludic as a method for rule-driven design elucidates states of play, combines free play, games and rules of play. Conceptual ludic art explores rules of play, systems of investigation and knowledge acquisition through game mechanics, as well as the fundamentals of perception, experience and cognition. The theory and practice of artistic research are concerned with ludic methods of approaching art and science, and epistemic things as insights achieved through arts objects as research vehicles.

Ludic objects are artefacts that trigger discourse and the application of certain rules of research. They constitute an interplay of art and knowledge. Finally, ludic, experimental research games are tied to a certain playful approach toward serious, rule-driven research. Following a ludic method introduces a new trope to artistic research.

Speculative games provide an element of role play, and use performance elements in order to understand the role of the artist, the researcher and the designer. The ludic objective is the idea of playful movement in thinking. It is informed by technologies and cultural techniques of insight, as well as theories, experiments and philosophical conceptions that are connected to the perceived, conceived and lived world.

(English und Deutsch in einem pdf)

2020 Neurointerfaces as means of Artistic Research or Expanded Game Art.

APAJahrmann, M. (2020, April 14). Neurointerfaces as means of Artistic Research or Expanded Game Art. Jahrmann, Margarete. “Neurointerfaces as Means of Artistic Research or Expanded Game Art.” SocArXiv, 14 Apr. 2020. Web.

Article in print:

Neurocontrollers of games are new consumer interfaces to the inner self, if we consider that they unfold as factual neuro-interfaces that evaluate our personal data and general human condition. Biometric data is gained in everyday life by mobile phones or health wristbands. The ethical dimension of the use of neuro interfaces is hardly questioned, neither in research nor in its artistic applications, which is surprising but a necessity for the self-determined user who is more than an object of produsage. In the centre of this inquiry stand very actual critical art works with life science devices and its corresponding participative games, in an emerging critical art form of neuro-games, in a new form of expanded game art. Brain interfaces for the consumer market target life improvement but in fact they capitalise our inner states in a mode of prosumption.

Expanded game art settings in public installations can fruitfully contribute to the sciences with the advantage of a controllable set of rules, which is useful for the research validity. These art pieces correspond to citizen science games, where scientists use games to analyse data in a collective mode. On the other hand, biometric aspects and neuro-interfaces used in performative installations allow to design a new kind of game art, made of elements of behavioural research and a critical questioning of the interfaces used in play. This argument is elaborated in a series of examples from neurosciences and expanded art games. 

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2020 PLAN A for I/motions.

Jahrmann M (2020). PLAN A for I/motions. Die Kunst des Spiels mit Emotionen und neuen Formen der Kognition. In: Machines Like Us. Reader Donaufestival. Ed. Thomas Edlinger, Falterverlag Wien, pp 95-103.

ISBN 978-3-9504740-1-5

pdf of the book chapter

Artificial Intelligence (AI), die künstliche Intelligenzentwicklung und Neurowissenschaften sind seit jeher Forschungsfelder, in denen die Fragestellungen der einen Disziplin die Entwicklungen der anderen anregen
und umgekehrt1. In den aktuellen Formen des mittlerweile geflügelten
Begriffs künstlicher Intelligenz werden biologische Modelle aufgegriffen.
Liegt dies allein an der steigenden Rechenleistung, den großen Sätzen
von verfügbarem Big Data, die eine Umsetzung dieser Konzepte nun
endlich ermöglichen, oder lässt sich ein neues Interesse an den menschlichen Affekten als Grundlage unserer Intelligenz ausmachen? Und wie sieht eine Forschung zu unserer Intelligenz und unseren Emotionen aus, die politisch brisant Machine Learning, Face Recognition und Computational Neurosciences koppelt? Welche Fragestellungen werfen künstlerische Arbeiten auf, die unsere emotionale Begegnung mit der AI und einer möglicherweise sich grundsätzlich verändernden AI thematisieren, die affektives Computing mit einbeziehen. Gibt es Kunst, die damit spielt und auf die Forschung Einfluss nimmt?
Der Wunsch, das biologische Gehirn besser zu verstehen, war ein historischer Ausgangspunkt für die Entwicklung erster künstlicher neuronaler Netze. Durch starke Vereinfachung war es möglich, Funktionsweisen und Raster über Prinzipien lebender Systeme auf Rechensysteme zu übertragen.
Der wunderbare Aufsatz A logical calculus of ideas immanent in nervous
activity² von Warren McCulloch and Walter Pitts (1943) zeigt, dass
bereits in den Anfängen der Computation das Verständnis der Funktionsweisen biologischer neuronaler Netze essentiell für die Modellierung künstlicher Netze war. Maschinenlogik und nervöse Aktivitäten wurden in den frühen Simulationen neuronaler Netzwerke so gekoppelt, wie es in der Kybernetik zweiter Ordnung üblich war, nämlich strukturell. ….

2019 Augmented Play, Art, and Space.

Jahrmann M (2019). Augmented Play, Art, and Space. The Cognitive Coupling of Avant-Garde Games with Unexpected Mental Spaces. In: Architecture | Volume 50. The architectonics of game spaces. Eds. Andri Gerber/ Ulrich Götz, Transcript, Berlin, pp 249-265.

…Margarete Jahrmann is a “practical theorist” active in game design and as such she brings in a diœerent perspective on the matter discussed in this book. She playfully investigates the relationship between spatial per-ception and computer games through games and installations, making reference to a whole set of similar artistic projects that bring together dif-ferent spatial dimensions, be it on stage, in games or in “reality”. Together with Max Moswitzer, she publishes the Ludic Society Magazine, a ludic arts research journal on playful methods in artistic research. The center of her article discusses the concept of “flow” as the key to understand the relationship of reality, virtual reality and game space. … (from the introduction)

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