Online Symposium

• Fri 11 06 2021 / 2 – 5 pm •
Times of Hands – Gamification vs Play


One of the many effects of digitalization is the growing presence and significance of games. On the one hand we see them on mobile phones and laptops, as recreational activities and as a career, as a global practice. On the other hand gamification is used as a means of increasing productivity and efficiency and as a tool for learning. Considering how ubiquitous it is as a practice, it raises the question of whether games and gaming are not less a consequence of digitalization as they are much more a precondition for its success: is it possible to imagine contemporary digital fields – whether economic, social, cultural, or political – without playful, game-like features?

Defining the framework of the symposium are a broadened concept of digital work – i.e. every work that is produced through digitalization is digital work – and a new perspective on games. Nairobi is both a source of inspiration and the focus of these investigations. As an African tech hub, embedded in global finance and knowledge networks and rich in idiosyncratic digital practices, Nairobi is a space with complexity and contradictions in abundance.

The symposium examines themes like the global influence and local practices of Silicon Valley rhetoric, the presence of Chinese tech ideologies in the South and the North, the practice of offline file sharing in Nairobi, the emergence of the transcontinental professional gaming industry and the explosion of the ride-hailing industry in East Africa.

Invited are students and employees of the KHM, artists, writers, gamers and programmers from Nairobi and neighboring areas. Involving active contributors from these fields is preferred, as there is a focus on a context-specific reflection of the practice.

Dates: 11 + 12 06 | 14:00–17:00 CET
Venue: online via
Language: English
Free of charge

We want to share the bright of the day across time zones. Thwarting the dominance of borders and territories in pandemic times we try to foster clusters of solidarity and exchange. Three chapters, three continents, three time zones – keep awake!


Fri 11 06 2021 | 14:00-17:00 CET

14:00 Welcome & Introduction
Hans Bernhard and Sam Hopkins

14:10 An Afro-Centric Lens to the Design of Edtech Games
Dr. Kagonya Awori

14:55 Pata Potea: Catching up with the Present
Bethuel Muthee

15:40 Creating Good Jobs through Technology
Oscar Peña

16:25 Discussion
Moderated by Hans Bernhard and Sam Hopkins

Sat 12 06 2021 | 14:00-17:00 CET

14:00 Mobile Phones, Offline Content Sharing and Identity in Nairobi's Informal Settlements
Cynthia Chepkemoi

14:45 Of Sneakernets and Copy Houses: Alternative Media Distribution as a Form of Digital Labor in Contemporary Cuba
Steffen Köhn and Nestor Siré

15:30 TThe Internet of Animals Predicts Tomorrow: A Speculative Model for a Natural Disaster Early Warning System
Hyeseon Jeong

16:15 Discussion
Moderated by Hans Bernhard and Sam Hopkins

In collaboration with Black Mirror Institute / Netze (KHM).

Times of Hands is initiated by Akademie der Künste der Welt (Academy of the Arts of the World (ADKDW) Cologne, in cooperation with Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), School of Environment and Architecture Mumbai (SEA), Academy of Media Arts Cologne (KHM)