Playing (Urban) Archives


This course aims to bring playing in conversation with (urban) archives. An archive can take many forms: from personal documents to institutional collections to online depositories. It is assembled and reassembled by diverse subjectivities and practices of collecting, complying, juxtaposing, narrating, memorizing. It is a dynamic process that combines multiple temporalities, the past and the present, and shapes the future. Urban space could also be interpreted as an archive dynamically being assembled by diverse bodies of matter, shaped by multiple temporalities and social and spatial processes.

Among other modes of relating, this course will prioritize playing as an activity and motive that opens up new experiences of bodily engagement, time, and political imaginaries beyond the traditional understandings of the urban. Playing provides a refreshing angle to create and share knowledge about how we inhabit urban spaces. It also opens up room for affective encounters such as desire, fun, serendipity, and empathy in urban processes.This course will combine theoretical reflections with practice-based assignments and encourage playing experiments to explore untapped emancipatory potentials and foster further discussion on urban development.

The course will be held bi-weekly, and each session will be structured around a theoretical input, assignment(takes), and playing. During the semester, through those assignments, you will engage with particular archives and archival practices in Hamburg (from autonomous citizen archives to museums and libraries) and establish your archival practices in the process of working towards your final assignment. The students will engage with methods such as game mechanics, mapping, storytelling, narration, and walks during the course. And they will work individually as well as in groups during the semester and for the final assignment.

Additionally, the students will be offered to work with an archive of a diverse body of material (practices, games, writings) assembled through an interdisciplinary research project: authren, which investigates the potential of approaching the city through the lens of games and playing. The context of the research project offers a possibility to critically reflect on different forms of archives and gain practical skills and the ability to create their research projects individually.

The students will have the opportunity to present their works in the final event of the research project mentioned above, which will take place between September 9 to 12, 2022.


Mondays 14:15-17:15.
HVP-3.109 / Seminarraum IX