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One of the many effects of digitalization is the growing presence and significance of games. On the one hand we see them on mobile phones and laptops, as recreational activities and as a career, as a global practice. On the other hand gamification is used as a means of increasing productivity and efficiency and as a tool for learning. Considering how ubiquitous it is as a practice, it raises the question of whether games and gaming are not less a consequence of digitalization as they are much more a precondition for its success: is it possible to imagine contemporary digital fields – whether economic, social, cultural, or political – without playful, game-like features?
Defining the framework of the symposium are a broadened concept of digital work – i.e. every work that is produced through digitalization is digital work – and a new perspective on games. Nairobi is both a source of inspiration and the focus of these investigations. As an African tech hub, embedded in global finance and knowledge networks and rich in idiosyncratic digital practices, Nairobi is a space with complexity and contradictions in abundance.
The symposium examines themes like the global influence and local practices of Silicon Valley rhetoric, the presence of Chinese tech ideologies in the South and the North, the practice of offline file sharing in Nairobi, the emergence of the transcontinental professional gaming industry and the explosion of the ride-hailing industry in East Africa.
In collaboration with Black Mirror Institute / Netze (KHM).
Times of Hands is initiated by Akademie der Künste der Welt (Academy of the Arts of the World (ADKDW) Cologne, in cooperation with Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), School of Environment and Architecture Mumbai (SEA), Academy of Media Arts Cologne (KHM).