Margarete Jahrmann

Margarete Jahrmann, is a LUDIC artist and artistic researcher, full university professor and head of EXPERIMENTAL GAME CULTURES at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. She leads the FWF research projects “The Psycholudic Approach” and “Neuromatic Game Art: critical play with neurointerfaces”.
In her interdisciplinary artistic practice, she developed the LUDIC method to connect the human and non- human, cognitive, emotional and political conditions of games, world and society. Her awards include prix ars electronica interactive art 2003, the Berlin transmediale software arts award 2004, and the Media Art Prize of the City of Vienna 2020.

Stefan Glasauer (Head Computational Neuroscience, Brandenburg University of Technology, Cottbus, Germany)
Thomas Brandstetter (Lecturer Experimental Game Cultures, University of Applied Art Vienna)

KOPFGELD: Dark Play in an AI based individualized money game.

FROG 2023 – Talk

The exemplary low interaction game KOPFGELD, developed in 2023 by Margarete Jahrmann & Stefan Glasauer and exhibited at Re:Publica Berlin (RP23.-) defines the price of a player’s face by using the latest developments in AI image generation and face recognition systems.
The theoretical foundation of Aaron Trammell’s recent book Repairing Play (2023) gives us a framework to reflect this radical art game on dark play AI, face recognition and cash. KOPFGELD addresses the “non-consensual play” by AI systems with human entities. Actual face recognition directly capitalizes biometric data and AI systems turn human training of AI systems/interaction into cash.
By looking into a camera the players agree (=dark pattern) that their face is used to train a closed AI system. Each face is monetarized by the AI: a “score” is attributed. It is higher the closer the calculated face is to the average face of all former players. From all locally stored faces a counterfeit is calculated that looks like the actual player, but does not actually exist. The new face is an OWN face — and serves as basis for a Geldschein (banknote) design. We use Stable Diffusion for an individualised Geldschein look, including the original camshot. By looking longer into the installation camera so that more pictures are taken, the player can bias the image database and thereby increase their score.
Using methods of artistic research (LUDIC method), KOPFGELD furthers the understanding of non-consensual play and dark patterns of game design as introduced by Trammell (2023) and Zagal (2013). Situating the installation in the context of low interactions games (Wild 2023) and the artistic tradition of dark play as described by Sicart (2015), we will show how KOPFGELD provides a dark mirror in which we can see glimpses of a future of pervasive gamification driven by non-human players: “you are being played”.


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