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Games and Conversations

Join us for an afternoon of play, creative experimentation and informal conversation with artists and game makers as we explore works from Now Play This Festival’s 2021 commissions programme and look ahead at what is to come in 2022.

Now Play This is London’s festival of experimental game design and playful arts. In 2021, the festival focused on the climate crisis. Through an exhibition, a series of talks and workshops and a commission strand supported by Goethe-Institute, it interrogated games and playful arts’ place in the climate debate and sought answers to how we can make a difference. Join their commissioned artists for a pair of mixed reality workshops, using digital tools to explore our place in the climate impacted world.

Experience our shifting weather patterns through the poetic lens of This is not a good sign. by J.R. Carpenter and Tomo Kihara. Augmented reality is used to overlay the user’s surroundings with signage posing questions about past and present climatic conditions. These signs call attention to the small changes in the climate already occurring all around us, inviting playful responses. Try the experience using your own mobile devices in the urban environment around Goethe-Institute and talk with the team behind the project about the development and playtesting process!

Design Studio Free Ice Cream is developing a unique Playable Data methodology that empowers groups of people to think and act collaboratively within the climate crisis. Over the course of the 2021, Free Ice Cream explored how this node map can be made playable by building worlds and mechanics that can meaningfully convey how group dynamics interact with personal responsibility. Try it for yourself and see how communities can find connection and meaningful actions that combat the climate emergency.

This event celebrates Goethe-Institute and Now Play This’ first year co-commissioning innovative interactive art, and the launch of an exciting new year of collaboration and partnership. We are thrilled to gather in the physical library space at Goethe-Institute London to experiment, discuss and learn from the experiences of two interdisciplinary teams that explore the climate crisis through the lens of play. Moving into 2022, Now Play This and Goethe-Institut will focus their collaboration around the theme of democracy, presenting a programme of works exploring connections between game design and democratic experiments.


For those who cannot attend, this event will be broadcasted live at

Now Play This is London’s festival of experimental game design and playful arts. Their year long programme of events centres on an annual exhibition at Somerset House as part of London Games Festival. Now Play This investigates a yearly changing, urgent theme through the lens of play, introduces the general public to experimental games of all kinds and supports them to make games of their own. Now Play This is directed by Sebastian Quack and produced by Nick Murray.

J. R. Carpenter is an artist, writer and researcher working across performance, print, and digital media. Her digital poem The Gathering Cloudwon the New Media Writing Prize 2016. Her print poetry collection An Ocean of Static was highly commended by the Forward Prizes 2018. Her most recent collection, This is a Picture of Wind, based on a web-app by the same name, was named one of The Guardian’s top poetry books of 2020.

Tomo Kihara is a research driven designer making playful interventions that provide a new perspective to socio-technical problems.

Free Ice Cream design playful interfaces that connect people and give them the agency to imagine and explore complex ideas and social change. Their work spans online games, playful immersive spaces, and digital magic embedded in the real world.


January 29
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm


Goethe-Institut London
50 Princes Gate, Exhibition Road
London , SW7 2PH United Kingdom
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Goethe Institute