Benedikt Pielenz

Benedijt PielenzBenedikt Pielenz ist studierter Pädagoge (BA) und Studierender der Bildungswissenschaften (MA) an der Technischen Universität in Darmstadt.

Er ist ausgebildeter Schreiner, Systemischer Berater, Schreibberater und Team-Supervisor. Mit Hilfe seiner mannigfaltigen Fähigkeiten berät, trainiert und vidiert er neben seinem Studium hauptsächlich Studierende, hauptsächlich in der interdisziplinären Zusammenarbeit.

Seine Forschungsschwerpunkte liegen in den Bereichen Medienpädagogik, emanzipatorische Pädagogik, pädagogische Anthropologie und Geschichte der Technik.

EU-Kulturgut: Digital Games & Disability

Vortrag von NachwuchswissenschaftlerInnen,  Samstag 19. Oktober, 12:00 – 12:15

Die Partizipation von Kindern an digitalen Spielen hat sich in den Jahren seit 2012 vervierfacht und jugendliche SpielerInnen spielen seit 2011 doppelt so häufig. Dabei identifizieren sich laut einer Umfrage aus 2008 – aktuellere Daten fehlen – rund zwanzig Prozent der VideospielerInnen als Menschen mit Behinderung. Die wachsende Teilnahme an Computerspielen bleibt politisch und wirtschaftlich nicht unbemerkt. Die Europäische Union (EU) nahm 2013 Videospiele offiziell in den Kultur- und Kreativsektor auf. Bereits 2011 wurde obendrein begonnen, die Entwicklung von Computerspielen wirtschaftlich zu fördern. Aber wie geht die EU mit der Partizipation von Menschen mit Behinderung um?

Eine Rolle zur Beantwortung dieser Frage spielen assistive Technologien, sie sind für VideospielerInnen mit Behinderung besonders relevant. Denn können sie Menschen mit Behinderung helfen, digitale Spiele auch noch nach ihrer Veröffentlichung spielbar zu machen. Die EU verpflichtet sich 2015 sogar zur Angleichung der Rechts- und Verwaltungsvorschriften der Mitgliedstaaten über die Anforderungen von Barrierefreiheit für Produkte und Dienstleistungen – bezogen unter anderem auf Hard- und Software. Wenn wir weiter in die Gegenwart blicken, wie steht es denn 2019 um die Entwicklung einer möglichst barrierefreien mixed-reality?

Insgesamt spiegeln die Beschlüsse, Berichte und Forderungen der europäischen Kultur- und Kreativwirtschaft nur ein geringes Interesse am Thema Menschen mit Behinderung und mixed-reality wider. Letztlich können Menschen mit Behinderung kaum als interessant für die Kulturpolitik und den Mainstream an technischen Entwicklungen rund um das Thema mixed-reality identifiziert werden. Aber gibt es auch Gegenbeispiele, die einen Kurs der Inklusion und Partizipation von Menschen mit Behinderung in die Welt der mixed-reality in Aussicht stellen.

Frank Fetzer

Frank FetzerFrank Fetzer is a PhD candidate in the last year at the University of Vienna. He holds a master’s degree in film studies from the same institution. His work focuses mainly on phenomenological and post-phenomenological theories. Key elements of his research are embodiment, human-technology relations, cyborgs, the ontology of virtual worlds and of course the video game as such. In his dissertation project, he tries to disentangle the manifold relations between player and video game as technological artefact and extension of player and world.

Mixed Reality is already there! The Player’s Body as Foundation of the Video Game Experience

Lecture,  Saturday, 19th October, 11:30 – 12:00

The different ontological status of the virtual gameworld and the material world has frequently led to a certain disregard of the player’s lived body on the one hand (all the action takes place in the game world) and to contemptful indifference towards the gameworld on the other (It’s not real! Why bother?).

Employing the phenomenology of French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty (Merleau-Ponty, 2012) I will argue that these two planes of existence are completely interwoven in the act of playing, that gaming is an activity deeply grounded in the carnal Being-in-the-World and that virtual action, as it is based on the subject’s lived body, is no more real or unreal than physical action.

Taking Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s notion, that “[m]y body is wherever it has something to do” (Merleau-Ponty, 2012) as a starting point, I will – with the help of Don Ihde’s and Peter-Paul Verbeek’s post-phenomenological analyses (Ihde, 1979, 1990; Verbeek, 2008) – sketch a framework for closing the ontic difference between physical and virtual worlds via the lived body’s capacity to incorporate technological artifacts. Playing a video game necessarily means to extend the body into the virtual and it is for that reason that indeed we have to conceive playing video games as a mixed reality experience.

Alexia Bhéreur-Lagounaris

Alexia Bhéreur-Lagounaris

Alexia Bhéreur-Lagounaris has a multidisciplinary professional background that includes music, writing, dance and choreography before becoming an event creator and a game designer.

Trained at Montreal’s contemporary dance school, she performed for many productions, was an Art Scout for Cirque du Soleil, a creative director, scriptwriter for Radio-Canada, Wasabi, Lalala Human Steps and event creator for Québec Cinéma. She’s also a research geek Wizard at INRS (Institut national de la recherche scientifique) and her expertise in human-centric design is used in all her projects where collaboration and collective intelligence is enhance. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in interactive multimedia communication from UQAM and a master’s degree M.Sc. A. in games with a social impact from University of Montréal. In 2016, she founded her game events productions with ABLBLALAB, and creates social games, gives workshops, coaching and conferences.

WARNING: Not suitable for robots

Keynote,  Saturday, 19th October, 10:30 – 11:30

In her 2018 thesis: « Games with a social impact: towards a new name for a Responsible entertainment » Alexia Bhéreur-Lagounaris concludes that the future of game design innovation needs a change of axis from the “game object” to “human subject playing”. But in order to bring to life the shift from object to subject, she concludes that human-centric design, means designing with and for the whole body. But what does it change to design for the whole body and what does it imply? After all, being human means to have a body, no?!

And this is where the plot twist takes place.

From piece of evidence of neuroscience recent research to philosophical work written in 1637, we put on the stand our system of beliefs and values about our body. We struck a deal with the responsible and finalize the investigation on why on earth we have been so trap sitting, in the “techno power trio” world (brain+eyes+finger tips). Surprise! The recent discoveries tells us that we think with our body. That Descartes made a mistake by separating thoughts and actions. And that our gut and heart have intelligence that we’ve been underusing. Ready to design, move and play mix realities on our feet?

In this conference:
We revisit the importance of designing-imagining-playing-feeling in holistic ways not just for the fun of it, but for our bio-psycho-social health stakes. We will take engaging examples from LARP, Augmented reality and physical games.
-Suitable for dopamine, serotonin, endorphin & oxytocin hormones.
-Not suitable for robots.

John N A Brown

John N A BrownJohn NA Brown is a wandering polymath who has spent years trying to write the perfect autobiographical blurb. In this quest, he has become a research scientist, public speaker, author, designer, human factors specialist, cartoonist, bricklayer, encyclopedist, storyboard artist, and much more. He has written and taught university courses in Scientific Thinking, Research Methods, Computer Animation & Storytelling, and Applied Biomechanics, and has solved problems for Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Along the way he picked up a few PhDs and an embarrassing number of other academic degrees, as well as awards for animation, teaching, applied mathematics, and haiku. Currently at Evolv Technologies in San Francisco, Dr Dr Dr Brown has previously worked in a dozen countries, in the private and public sectors, in serious games, in recreational sports, and in his pyjamas.
He has yet to win an award for any of his autobiographical blurbs.

Save Gamer

Keynote, Friday, 18th October, 16:30 – 17:30

Video games require the player to iterate; to repeat their behaviour over and over again, making slight progressive changes each time. This is how the player learns how to move through and interact with the gamespace, and it is also how humans learn and master new skills in the real world. In both cases, new skills are first performed slowly and deliberately, with conscious and
thoughtful reflection. Eventually, through iteration, these new skills are mastered and become  pre-attentive: either predictions and reactions based on high-speed pattern recognition, or bursts of incredibly fast previously-learned coordinated reflexes called muscle memory. After the right kind of reinforcement, the conditioned behaviours can be triggered unconsciously. When someone’s pre-attentive and reflexive skills are repeatedly triggered, forcing them to respond too quickly for conscious and thoughtful reflection, they enter into a state of performance called Flow. In gameplay and in real life, this is where distractions disappear, and mastery of multiple overlapping skills can be developed. As with real life skill mastery, time spent in “gameflow” changes the player’s mind and body at an unconscious level. Application-specific gamification has been used to condition and reinforce pre-attentive behaviours that allow people to be put to more efficient use as a resource for military, political, and commercial interests. Gamejams could become the testing ground for games that develop unconscious skills that will help players level up in the real world.

Gernot Hausar

Gernot HausarGernot Hausar is a Historian based in Vienna, Austria.

Interests & research include information exchange & transfer, digital humanities, hackers, net-policy, CEE, eLearning, OCR, games & data mining.


Settlement of digital land – living a part of your life in the sandbox MMO EVE Online

Lecture, Friday, 18th October, 16:00 – 16:30

As parts of the digital eco-systems like game worlds get more and more interconnected with the physical world and the daily lives of it’s inhabitants. The discussion on how to integrate these (perceived) digital spaces into society is ongoing.

This talk uses the strange world of EVE Online players in and (as far as they can be) out-of-game to argue, that there might already be historical precedents, like the three international spaces and especially the High Seas, on how to possibly integrate spaces with similar properties into society.

EVE Online, a one-shard-universe (excluding the PRC) with it’s rich history of in- and out-of-game play, ranging from thefts and spycraft, serious Mini-Games, player charities to propaganda and RL-communities, offers great examples of how the game- and physical world interact, interweave and still differ in life – and death.

Ina Stacher

Photo by Klaus Ranger Fotografie (

My name is Ina Stacher, I did my masters degree in Psychology at the University of Vienna, with a focus on Developmental, Clinical and Health Psychology. Currently, I am working at the Research Group D.O.T. (Die offene Tür) and I am doing a PhD at the University of Vienna, Department of Applied Psychology: Health, Development, Enhancement and Intervention. My research interests lie in the field of health promotion, social relations and stress, youth engagement and social connectedness.

During my career, I gained clinical experience at the AKH Vienna and at a nursing home. I supported autistic children and collaborated with special educational needs teachers at a nursery school. I have many years of experience in the guidance and realisation of recreational activities with children and adolescents.
My core tasks in the D.O.T. project are the coordination, co-development and implementation of interactive workshops focussing on social connectedness and scientific analyses based on qualitative and quantitative research.

LINA – a digital learning game using mixed reality to discover interpersonal relations in the classroom and foster social connectedness

Young Academic Presentation, Friday, 18th October, 15:30 – 15:45

Discrimination and social exclusion due to any kind of otherness is a burning issue in school classrooms. Rejection and social exclusion provokes stress and can lead to negative outcomes such as depression, loneliness or low self-esteem. An important protective factor in the negative circle of exclusion, stress and mental health problems is good and supportive social relationships. Today’s youth use smartphones to establish and maintain relations with peers making online contact as relevant as direct contact.

Thus, the aim of the academic research group D.O.T. (Die offene Tür) is to develop a digital intervention game for early adolescents using mixed reality to discover interpersonal relations in the classroom and foster social connectedness.

The game, LINA, is conceived as a mystery-style game played simultaneously by an entire class of students aged 10-12, alongside their teacher. Players use smartphones to explore both their classroom and their relationship with each other in new ways. The game uses augmented reality and shared collaborative experiences to uncover the story of Lina, a fictional pupil who has suddenly and mysteriously left school in the middle of the term.

By stimulating positive contact via successful aspects of contact-based research (e.g. promoting shared interests/emotions, cooperative tasks) in both, an analogue and a digital setting, the game will create a unique mixed reality experience for youth. The co-development process strongly involves the target in order to adequately address their needs, challenges and preferences.

Daniela Bruns

Daniela BrunsDaniela Bruns works as a University Assistant at the Department of Media and Communications at the Alpen-Adria-University Klagenfurt (AAU) in Austria. She holds a diploma in Media Theory and Cultural Studies and a bachelor in Economics from the University of Klagenfurt. She is the organizer of the annual Game Pics Event at the AAU which is an art project that experiments with reflections on in-game imagery. Her main research interests include cultural studies, popular culture, serious gaming, and video games between escapism and activism.

When the future becomes the present – Detroit: Become Human as a resource for social criticism

Lecture, Friday, 18th October, 15:30 – 15:30

Stories about artificially created humans, robots, androids and cyborgs have been captivating humanity for several centuries. After their entry into literature, art, film and television, the subject also found its way into video games. Frequently framed by a dystopian scenery and noir elements, it takes us into a gloomy vision of the future that deals with the fears and worries of the present. The question of what constitutes humanity and how people relate to their environment is more relevant (and more urgent) today than ever and has been inscribed in the central issues of, for example, Posthumanism and New Materialism.

The 2018 published video game Detroit: Become Human also deals with this issue but deviates from a dystopian framing. The fictional world in which we are immersed in this game is very similar to our current one. Technological progress does not generate disbelief but is based on technologies that we already encounter in our everyday lives. Familiar images allow us to look back at recent history instead of indulging in futuristic exaggerations. Therefore, the video game does not offer its players to focus their attention on a possible distant future but to deal with current events and problems. This presentation will exemplarily deal with some aspects of the game and link them to their context of production and reception, in order to illustrate the potential for meaning. It should not only be shown that popular video games can be a resource for social criticism, but also which circumstances are required for its successful realization.

Sonja Gabriel

Sonja GabrielSonja Gabriel is professor for media literacy at teacher university college KPH Vienna/Krems. She teaches use and effects of digital media to pre-service and in-services teachers. Her research focuses on digital media for teaching and learning, putting an extra focus on digital game-based learning as well as teaching values in and with digital games. Sonja Gabriel studied German and English at the university of Vienna. She wrote her PhD thesis about knowledge management at secondary commercial colleges. In two master degree courses (Educational Media at University Duisburg/Essen and Applied Game Studies at Danube University Krems) she specialized on digital media and videogames.

The case of „Pokémon Go“ – how an augmented reality game influences society

Lecture, Friday, 18th October, 14:30 – 15:00

When being released in summer 2016, Pokémon Go made it to the headlines of all kind of media all over the world. However, it was not the game itself and its then innovative AR-technology which was in the center of interest but articles which either supported the hype around the game (gamers taking more exercise and getting to know their home towns better) or which condemned the game strongly for example because of being the reason for accidents or because of having placed Poké-Stops and Gyms in unsuitable places like memorial sites of concentration camps. When it comes to religion, there are also different opinions: Some churches, for example in Great Britain, tried to lure more people to church by organizing Pokémon Go parties. Other religions banned the game – in Saudi Arabia the fatwa on Pokémon was renewed as the game is said to support theory of evolution. Some gamers even believe the game to be a religion of its own by citing techno-animism.

Studies show that Pokémon Go can motivate people to get more exercise outside and that it can support finding new friends or getting closer contact to other people. Even persons suffering from social anxiety disorder like to play the game. Insurance companies, however, regard games like Pokémon Go as posing additional risk on gamers as they are distracted by the game resulting in more accidents and thus more insurance cases. Thus, insurance experts are thinking about ideas how to minimize these risks.

These are only some examples how the game has already influenced society and which concern – in contrast to most other games – also non-gamers. The presentation is going to discuss some of these cases, thus showing how strong games are interconnected with our every-day-lives.

Attila Szantner

Attila SzantnerAttila is the CEO and co-founder of Massively Multiplayer Online Science (aka MMOS): a Swiss company specialized in connecting citizen science and videogames. MMOS founders received the prestigious Lovie Award and the IGDA Serious Games SIG Community Leadership Award for their role in creating EVE Online’s Project Discovery. Attila has a background in computer science and he co-founded and co-designed iWiW, which was the biggest social network in Hungary before Facebook, reaching almost 5 million users.

Mix in reality: Science enters games

Keynote, Friday, 18th October, 13:30 – 14:30

Mixed reality is the magic of overlaying virtual content on our real life environment. Can we use this magic the other way around? Can we add real life content to enrich the virtual worlds of games? We believe it is not just possible, but can bring interesting new experiences to games as well as substantial results to real life endeavours.

In the last 5 years we worked on projects along this line: to mix real life research into already existing games. The first project of Massively Multiplayer Online Science, Project Discovery in EVE Online yielded hundreds of millions of scientific data analysis submitted by players and getting EVE spaceships flying across the cover of Nature Biotechnology. Come to hear about how Project Discovery was set up and about the latest results.

Gerhard Pölsterl

Gerhard PoelsterlWho am I?

Gerhard Pölsterl, historian, pedagogue and games enthusiast.

What’s my job?

I’m the officer for media and pedagogy at the department Youth Policy of the Federal Chancellery of Austria. My responsibilities include topics such as digital media, safer internet and gaming. Therefore I manages the “Office for Media and Pedagogy” (Medien-Jugend-Info im BKA) and and organize the annual international conference “FROG -Future and Reality of Gaming” of the “Federal Office for the Positive Assessment of Digital Games” (Bundesstelle für die Positivprädikatisierung von digitalen Spielen im BKA) I’m also holding classes regarding „digitalisation, media literacy, pedagogy and teaching“ at the University of Vienna, Institute for Teacher Education.

Why am I involved with the FROG?

FROG lays the base of our other projects regarding digital games and connects the big scientific players as well as junior researchers and pedagogical practitioners, which is a great mix to learn from each other!

Alltime favourite videogame?

DSF `98 Soccer manager!

Gerhard PoelsterlWer bin ich?

Gerhard Pölsterl, Historiker, Pädagoge und Games-Enthusiast.

Was mache ich?

Als Fachreferent für Medienpädagogik der Abteilung Jugendpolitik im Bundeslanzleramt bin ich für Themen wie digitale Medien, Safer Internet und Gaming zuständig. In meinen Verantwortungsbereich fällt die Medien-Jugend-Info im BKA und die Organisation der FROG, welche als Teil der Bundesstelle für die Positivprädikatisierung von digitalen Spielen im BKA die Basis für die dortige Arbeit legt. Nebenbei bin ich Lehrbeauftragter am Institut für LehrerInnenbildung der Universität Wien im Bereich der „Digitalen Grundbildung“.

Warum engagiere ich mich für die FROG?

Die FROG dient mit ihren Erkenntnissen als Basis für viele weitere Projekte des BKA und vereint Koryphäen dieses Bereichs mit Nachwuchsforschenden und Praktikern/innen aus der außerschulischen und Schulischen Jugendarbeit. Hier kann man voneinander lernen!

Alltime favourite videogame?

Der DSF `98 Fußballmananger!