Playful Interfaces: Programming So Far

Tired of touchscreens? Ditch the keyboard and join us for something far more playful.

Think curious controllers, quirky inputs and ways of engaging that just feel more…fun! This edition features the creative pioneers turning our physical world into a playground.

From the explosion of escape rooms and indie arcade games to embedding play in urban infrastructure, videogames are spilling out into the real world. We’re celebrating the brilliant teams working beyond screens in pursuit of simple, accessible experiences that reward experimentation and revel in their own tactility.

Join Daniel Hirschmann – founder of Tech Will Save Us – and Tim Burrell-Saward – innovation lead on break-out hit Beasts of Balance – on a candid journey through a collection of world-class installations and responsive objects.

Play the bonkers and beautiful Line Wobbler, Robin Baumgarten’s world-famous one-dimensional dungeon crawler, and Bot Party, a sound-based game about intimacy developed by cultural engineer Phoenix Perry.

The Artful Spark philosophy of getting hands-on has never been more appropriate; this event is all about the joy of big buttons, bright lights and bold sound. We’ll be asking:

  • What content is best served by tangible and playful interfaces?
  • What audience experience can they be expected to deliver?
  • Where is this work being programmed?
  • What are the key tools for getting started?
  • What’s next in this space?


Daniel Hirschmann

Daniel’s been making interactive installations, spaces and objects for over 10 years and has worked with everyone from Nike and Google to the Science Museum and the Whitney Museum of Art.  His company Hirsch & Mann specialises in responsive objects, installations and environments.  Daniel is also the co-founder of Technology Will Save Us.

Tim Burrell-Saward

From a background spanning lighting design, architecture and interaction design, Tim founded ELK as well as leading on RnD for Sensible Object and their breakout hit Beasts of Balance.  With ELK Tim has made work for Wikipedia, Selfridges, Historic Royal Palaces and Hendricks. ELK’s work has been shown at the Tate Britain, Barbican and Science Museum, among others.

Robin Baumgarten

Ringmaster and thought leader in the field of hardware controllers, and creator of the hugely popular Line Wobbler.  He’ll be talking about and demoing his hugely successful one-dimensional dungeon crawler game.

Phoenix Perry

Cultural Engineer, Game Designer, Instigator and Feminist Killjoy (her words).  We can’t wait to meet her and hear about her work creating physical games and user experiences whilst lecturing in Physical Computing and Games at Goldsmiths.  Phoenix will be talking about and demo-ing Bot Party.

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