Disrupting Coloniality, One Game at a Time

ReverseForward © Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan

ReverseForward is a GameLab that brings diverse people, skill sets, and perspectives together to discuss and critique the role of colonialism and its impact on contemporary societies.

The key thematics of the lab are reimagining decolonial praxis in culture producers - both institutions and individuals, the role of play and narrative strategies, and social game design.


Amarnath Praful

Amarnath Praful
© Amisha Bajpai
Amarnath Praful is a visual artist, writer and teacher who primarily works with photography. His artistic and research practice explores elements from performance, text, video, archive and found material. His work is often guided by the landscape, folk and oral traditions, modernities, and cultural and political histories of Kerala, India. His pedagogical concerns on which he has been writing and teaching are in the area of contemporary photographic practices, representational politics, the history of photography in the subcontinent, intermedia image practices and cinema studies. Currently, he is a Faculty at the Photography Design master’s program at the National Institute of Design, Gandhinagar.

Avni Sethi

Avni Sethi
© Avni Sethi
Avni Sethi is an interdisciplinary practitioner with her primary concern lying between culture, memory, space and the body. She conceptualized and designed the Conflictorium, a Museum of Conflict situated in Ahmedabad, Gujarat and Raipur Chhattisgarh in 2013 and 2022 respectively. The museum has since been home to diverse critical explorations on conflict transformation and art practice. She currently serves as its Artistic Director. Trained in multiple dance idioms, her performances are largely inspired by syncretic faith traditions and sites of contested narratives. She has been continually interested in exploring the relationship between intimate audiences and the performing body.

Laxmi Khanolkar

Laxmi Khanolkar
© Laxmi Khanolkar
Laxmi Khanolkar is the co-founder and CEO of Apar Games. Apar Games is an indie game development company based in India. It specializes in developing games based on sports, arcade, adventure, and puzzle genres. It develops games for Android and iOS platforms. It also provides services such as advertisements, game porting, game development and art outsourcing to its clients. It has clients including Cartoon Network and Big Fish Games. It generates revenue through advertisements, in-app purchases, and paid games.

Tom Lilge

Dr. Tom Lilge
© Dr. Tom Lilge
Dr. Tom Lilge co-founded gamelab.berlin at Humboldt University in 2013. This academic research and development platform conducts interdisciplinary research on games in theory and practice. Over 30 prototypes, primarily digital applications, have been created in this research context. The most successful ideas and applications became the basis for the spin-off of three companies. Tom is the co-founder of Playersjourney, an agency for digital products in the field of knowledge transfer, and co-founder and managing partner of Homo Ludens GmbH, which offers a gamified museum app, and software-based business consulting. Tom has extensive experience in designing and implementing playful experiential spaces, whether as a mobile app, a spatial installation, or a hybrid experience.

Vera Marušić

Vera Marusic
© Marina Marusic
Vera Marušić is Consultant to the Director and in charge of Program and Strategy Planning at the Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum – Cultures of the World located in Cologne, Germany since November 2019. After graduating in law, she has worked in various functions as a research assistant, project coordinator and curator in complex, international and interdisciplinary projects in the cultural/arts field and higher education: Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, HELLERAU - European Center for Contemporary Arts Dresden, Stiftung Deutsches Hygiene-Museum Dresden, Dresden University of Fine Arts and Dresden State Art Collections.


Colonizing <=> Decolonizing <=> Re-imagining | How to Re-imagine a Museum

Anchored by Vera Marušić

Colonizing <=> Decoloniing <=> Re-imagining is an inter-connected never-ending cycle that when read forward results in a positive outcome but when looked at in reverse highlights the challenges that come with trying to dismantle colonial structures in order to imagine otherwise. Colonizing here is defined as taking up space in institutions in order to allow for declonizing-the act of dismantling and critizing, which thus brings forth re-imagining, the creation of new inclusive structures and forms of knowledge production.

The World As a Playground

Anchored by Thomas Lilge

Real-world concepts, ideologies, beliefs, values and much more are reflected in (video) games. As (mass) media, games are always an excerpt from our time. In its original state for example, Monopoly was a protest game against illegal land grabbing and the subjugation of peasants. It became known as a game that conveys capitalist processes in an extremely entertaining way as a playful experience.

Play and Narrative Strategies

Anchored by Laxmi Khanolkar

Narrative mechanics are responsible for making meaning and manipulation in game design; how do we then utilize narrative techniques and methods to express complex worlds in games?

On Translations: Contemporary Art Practice and Research

Anchored by Amarnath Praful

The table brings together various contemporary practitioners who use research and art practice situated in the interstices of language, performance, drawing, image, text, and sound. The propositions that will be presented operate within, against, and adjacent to systems such as documents, archives, institutions, and scholarships in relation to the colonial matrix of power. One Imagines that the traces of coloniality, its attitudes, hierarchies, and effects can be detected in the premises of these knowledge systems. That the research and practice stems from and gives body to certain subversive impulses towards Decoloniality.

Get in Touch

For any inquiries, write to us at Nidhi.Kol@goethe.de.

In partnership with

Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum © Rautenstrauch-Joest Museum