Case Study Example 1:
Ecxerpt from: Polson. D. (2011). Games in Place: Collaborative Interventions in Socio-spatial Practices. PhD Exegesis Draft. QUT: Australia
Close Encounters. Geocache Event.
By Ulke and Herbst. 2002.
Perhaps, geocachers who stumble into this neighborhood will reflect on the ways in which their own communities reveal themselves.
Ulke and Herbst 2002
By reviewing a map of the current geocaches in Las Angeles (see images above), artists Christina Ulke and Marc Herbst recognised a complete lack of activity in the South Central area. This statistic revealed certain demographics and characteristics of local players currently participating in geocaching as probably middle-class caucasians on trendy mountain bikes: ‘They look for terrains to be without conflicts. It is interesting that there are so few geocaches in the South of the 10. As much as it speaks of the fear of those living north of the 10, it also speaks of the cultural difference and questions of economic access by residents living South of the 10’ (Ulke & Herbs 2002). In response, Ulke and Herbst challenged geocachers by setting up a game that invited them to proactively step out from the typically safe urban environments into the charged terrain of racial politics by sending them into Leimert Park, a middle class African American neighbourhood.
Case Study Analysis using my Model Presented in the Exegesis:
Game world: Leiment Park, South Central Las Angeles.
Game play: Geocachers were to complete a series of cache challenges posted on http://www.geocaching .com. Once they found a cache clue, they were to email the answers to an anonymous address. For example, the geocachers were instructed to find a wall mural and then ‘tell us one of the quotes that are written on its top. FYI - it’s worth your while to check out the nearby museum and talk to the docent. The whole neighbourhood is amazing.’ The players were encouraged to post stories about their experiences there, in particular their interactions with local inhabitants as evidence of participation.
Game rules: Find as many caches as possible and report the finding via email. Participants were not to post their answer on the website even if encrypted as people could use them to cheat.
Tools: Web site and hand held GPS device.
Agents: Any person participating in this geocache activity and the local participants that are approached on-site as part of the experience
Nodes: Local ‘cache’ positions in Leiment Park.
Impact: The authors of this challenge intended for the geocache players to feel slightly unsettled, and therefore, more aware of the terrain that they pass through. The authors insured that the players did not only skim the surface of the site, but encouraged them to engage with the place and people. Players, once equipped with tools of play, were able to experience urban spaces not normally traversed with a new sense of access and agency. The premise of the game seemed to give the players more affordances to enter a space they would not normally traverse due to cultural differences and preconceptions.