Publications, Volume #56

OUT NOW Volume #56: Playbor

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There once was a time when work and leisure were separate realms: you worked or you played. These days, playing is work and work demands playing. Who’s fooling who, may we ask?

After the 24/7 economy, after the merging of private and social time and space, after work has become pervasive and ubiquitous, the next level is to masquerade work as play. It’s called the gamification of the workspace and it’s labeled as Playbor.

The instrumental use of points, levels and feedback, aims to improve workers’ engagement, boost productivity, facilitate learning, optimize systems, and more. From Silicon Valley tech-giants gamifying their workspaces, to Walmart and other (e)-supermarkets implementing virtual reality into their logic of production, to Steve Bannon hiring Chinese workers (also known as ‘gold-farmers’) to level-up avatars in World of Warcraft.

Work is becoming more play-like, play more work-like, all serving the ever-increasing exploitative logic. The ‘power’ of gamification is that it works in a cognitive level; not as power that represses but as power that produces. Through the production of playful work, gamification shapes identities that fit the needs of capitalism: enthusiastic, self-engaged and self-exploitative subjects. 

The Volume #56 issue is divided in two sections: POWERPLAY in which we explore the renewed relations between work(ers) and leisure(rers) (burn-out, identity, hierarchy, unionism, commoning) and PLAYGROUND on the spatial implications of the focus on gaming (workspaces, data centers, dark kitchens, urban simulators, city games, citizen apps).

With contributions by: Alexander R. Galloway, Silvio Lorusso, Simone C. Niquille, Arthur Röing Baer & Nick Houde, Jonas Staal, George Jepson, Patternist, Denisse Vega de Santiago, Eventually Made, Kris Ligman, Irene Chin & Francesco Garutti, You + Pea, Davide Tommaso Ferrando, Ben Schouten & Gabriele Ferri.

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Table of contents

All Work, All Play
Arjen Oosterman

The Rapture of Play: interview with Alexander R. Galloway
by Denisse Vega de Santiago & George Jepson


Hack Thyself
Silvio Lorusso

Simone C. Niquille

Worker of the Worlds Unite!
Arthur Röing Baer & Nick Houde

Letters From the Future
Jonas Staal & Denisse Vega de Santiago

Labor Consumption for a Cybernetic World
George Jepson

In the Beginning Was the World


Loving Gamification
Denisse Vega de Santiago

Profaning Gamification
Denisse Vega de Santiago

Garage Tales
Eventually Made

Our Happy Life
Irene Chin & Francesco Garutti

Videogame Urbanism
You + Pea

Our House (in the middle of the web)
Davide Tommaso Ferrando

You Are Jeff Bezos
Kris Ligman

Playification and Gamification: interview of Ben Schouten & Gabriele Ferri
by Arjen Oosterman & Denisse Vega de Santiago


Volume #56: Playbor
Editor in Chief: Arjen Oosterman
Designed by Irma Boom Office (Irma Boom, Jan van der Kleijn)
72 Pages, 33 x 24 cm
Soft cover, stapled

ISSN 1574-9401
ISBN 9789077966662