Games for/with strangers - captive orangutan (Pongo Pygmaeus) touch screen play

Hanna Elina Wirman

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


This essay introduces an ongoing project that aims to enrich the lives of captive orangutans and raise awareness around issues related to their wellbeing and endangerment. Building on experimental and exploratory game design research with orangutans, it addresses a number of examples that highlight the areas of discomfort and uncertainty in human-animal communication and ACI (Animal-Computer Interaction). Cases of unusual play practices and uses of touch screen technology are explored alongside the ethical stance of the research. The essay goes on discussing how play can be used as means to facilitate interaction between individuals of different kind. In play, there is a potential for ‘becoming with’ whom we may first consider a stranger (Haraway 2008). Digital play, in particular, allows a form of mediated communication that eliminates some of the immediate and bodily obstacles and opens up new ways for togetherness in play.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-115
Number of pages11
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Cite this