The Game


“Ordnungswissenschaft” is a physical game in which four players move stacked boxes according to rigid instructions. Players don’t decide what to execute, they only decide when to execute it. The players resemble factory workers as they move the boxes around. At first, the experience may be chaotic, but as players begin to intuitively predict the other players’ moves, they regain control. A player can gain the upper hand by slightly modifying their timing to influence the assembly line to their advantage. However, other players will also try to do this, so the question becomes who can regain control over the newly formed chaos first.


Art historian and curator Sarah Brin wrote about Ordnungswissenschaft:
In the 2007 book Persuasive Games, the designer and philosopher
Ian Bogost posits that video games possess a unique persuasive power.
This power, which he refers to as “procedural rhetoric,” is directly linked
to computers’ core functionalities, particularly their ability to run
processes, execute calculations, and complete rule-based operations.
Bogost argues that video games are especially effective vehicles for
procedural rhetoric because of their ability to impart rule systems by
encouraging players to “think” like a computer. ¹

While some games encourage players to internalize procedural rhetoric
as an incentive to win, Jakob Penca, Marek Plichta, and Till Wittwer’s
Ordnungswissenschaft (Science of Order; 2010) externalizes this
phenomenon by remediating the command-based nature of computer
language through human actions. Like many Fluxus scores, including
La Monte Young’s instruction from Composition 1960 #10 (1960) to
“draw a straight line and follow it,” Ordnungswissenschaft is both played
and performed by following simple instructions. The game itself is entirely
analog, which means that players introduce elements of chaos and
randomness simply by translating Ordnungswissenschaft’s “programming”
into physical movements. As players perform the game, it becomes clear
that there is a distinct separation between human behavior and the
clean, platonic ideals associated with computer logic. The deviations
between the written instructions and their physical manifestation are not
necessarily negative factors, but rather they demonstrate the increasing
influence of human-computer relations and the fascinating tensions that
emerge when organic and programmed elements are combined.

¹ Ian Bogost, Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007), ix.

Awards & Honors

♣ Award for Best Interaction and nominated for Best Game Design at IndieCade – Culver City, CA, USA 2011
♦ Exhibited at the w00t – Copenhagen, Denmark 2014
♦ Exhibited at the Hammer Museum – Los Angeles, USA 2012-2013
♦ Exhibited at the Playful Arts Festival – Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands 2012
♦ Exhibited at Weekender – London, UK 2012
♦ Exhibited at Bit of Alright – London, UK 2012
♦ Exhibited at Sandpit – London, UK 2011
♦ Exhibited at Play10 – Potsdam, Germany 2010




Marek Plichta
Till Wittwer, Berlin University of the Arts
Jakob Penca, Academy of Media Arts Cologne
Read more about us…


marekplichta {then the at symbol} gmail {then the little dot} com
till.wittwer {then the at symbol} googlemail {then the little dot} com

Kindly supported by:
Initiative Creative Gaming and the Play10 festival.
Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung
jaf – Verein für medienpädagogische Praxis Hamburg e.V.