Ars Electronica 2002
Festival-Website 2002
Back to:
Festival 1979-2007


A Participative World System

'Josef Deinhofer Josef Deinhofer / 'Nik Thoenen Nik Thoenen / 'Michael Aschauer Michael Aschauer / 'Maia Gusberti Maia Gusberti

./logicaland is a collective simulation game based on a global world model developed in the ‘70s that has been taken out of its original context and adapted into a participative online game. In rounds of play lasting up to 22 hours, financial and natural resource endowments of 185 states—proceeding from “real” starting values from the year 2000—can be manipulated in an interdependent world system. The parameter changes made by participants become “votes” that are polled by the server and fed back into the simulation.

./logicaland is a multi-user platform, a “social” parlor game, a game of cooperating or competing social forces in which a networked community can develop visions, pursue collective strategies and produce or revise worldviews—a game without winners and losers and with no prescribed goals.

The fact is, however, that social, political and economic preconditions exclude 94% (1) of the world’s population from participation in the game; “that there is de facto no network when one is not connected to it.” (2) ./logicaland is, accordingly, meant as an experiment within the—essentially “Western” dominated—Internet user population. The process of reflection about the limits of “democratization via linkage to digital networks,” the dominant power structures, as well as the unequal possibilities of political participation and input into decision-making processes is a central theme of ./logicaland.

./logicaland is defined as a statement in the context of “globalization,” as a prototype of a potential tool for a new “cognitive enlightenment,” (3) and as a basis for discussion as part of an interdisciplinary encounter with (alternative) world designs, worldviews, digital culture and democratic participation. It is an attempt to visualize our world and its interwoven mechanisms with the intention of expanding consciousness of complex global economic interdependencies, sensitizing participants to social and political dependencies, and, above all, sharpening individuals’ awareness of their own involvement and the possibilities inherent in the network of the “social system.”

Rough estimate of Internet users as a percentage of world population based on data from the CIA World Fact Book 2001 (www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html) back

On this subject, also see: Olu Oguibe: “Connectivity, and the Fate of the Unconnected” (www.heise.de/tp/english/inhalt/co/6551/1.html) back

In the sense of Phillipe Quéau: “In a world that is powered by the flow of information, the user interfaces that make the information visible—and the underlying code—become enormous social forces. Understanding their strengths and limitations and even joining the effort to create better tools should be part of citizens’ commitment to civil society. These tools have just as great an influence on our lives as laws do, and we should subject them to similar scrutiny. We must gain a better understanding of the assumptions that form the basis of the cognitive means—simulation models, computational and conceptual models, cognitive patterns, statistics—that we utilize, consciously or unconsciously, more and more often. A new ‘cognitive’ enlightenment is necessary.” (Quéau, Phillipe: “Das globale Gemeinwohl“, in: Rötzer, Florian: Megamaschine Wissen: Vision: Überleben im Netz, Frankfurt/New York: Campus, 1999) back