Maintain the Play – On Ludic Objects in Public Spaces

  • Session at the Joint ICOHTEC–SHOT 2024 Annual Meeting


International Committee for the History of Technology , Society for the History of Technology , Florian Bettel


  • 09 July 2024–14 July 2024 Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez (Campus Viña del Mar), Viña del Mar, VS, Chile


Cultural History, Cultural Studies, Game Research, Technical History


The 20th century brought about different forms of playful pastime in urban public spaces. Using the example of Viennese ludic cultures, this session is dedicated to play objects in public space that were promoted, tolerated or sanctioned by local politics, are linked to aspects of security, bear witness to the players’ stories, and persist or disappear with the skills of the actors they create, maintain or use. The papers all refer to the example of Vienna, where they trace the artists who, after the devastation of the Second World War, found a field of activity and income in the production of play sculptures. We question the play objects along the history of the term “security” and how changing norms and standards are reflected in the aesthetics and in the idea of play and pastime. To what extent does the reparability of the artefacts determine their accessibility and what knowledge about production and maintenance can be accessed by which actors? The interdisciplinary session sheds light on the history of play with technology at the level of the actors who bring ludic spaces to life for their own agendas in art, administration, crafts, legislation and education. The question of reparability arises in different ways, which means that the objects themselves and the play with them are constantly being reshaped. “FIX the World with Play! And quick fix with Experimental Game Cultures?” Margarete Jahrmann, head of Experimental Game Cultures, University of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria “Street Art – A New Perspective on Subversive Games?” Stefan Poser, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, KIT, Germany “Topographies of Viennese Play Cultures” Florian Bettel, head of Cultural Studies, University of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria


Activity List



  • Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez (Campus Viña del Mar), Viña del Mar, VS, Chile
  • Avenida Padre Alberto Hurtado 750
  • Viña del Mar
  • Chile

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Published By: Florian Bettel | Universität für Angewandte Kunst Wien | Publication Date: 22 May 2024, 06:44 | Edit Date: 27 June 2024, 08:05