30/10/2008

Deep Play



In order to improvise, to break our habit, to provoke serendipity in process, do we need rules? Diane Ackerman, in her 1999 book Deep Play, she describes Play as having "its own etiquette, rituals and ceremonies, its own absolute rules. As Johan Huizinga notes in Homo Ludens, a classic study of play and culture, play 'creates order, is order. Into an imperfect world and into the confusion of life it brings a temporary, limited perfection.'"

Also that "Play always has a sacred place– some version of a playground– in which it happens. The hallowed ground is usually outlined, so that it's clearly set off from the rest of reality.”



Is The Grid a kind of playground? This is from Armin Hoffmann's book 'His Work, Quest and Philosophy'. In 'anti-form' (see Eva Hesse image in earlier post) terms the grid's resistance fosters invention and nuance.



Bas Jan Ader's funny, sad-happy falls. Ackerman notes that "Play's original meaning was quite different, something altogether more urgent, more abstract. In Indo-European, plegan meant to risk, chance, expose oneself to hazard".



Allan Wexler, in a very similar way to Miranda July and now Daniel Eatock, works to hard-and-fast rules which bring both economy and absurdity. The virtues of limitation.





Jake & Dinos Chapmans' exquisite Exquisite Corpse series of etchings were processed according the game as conceived by the Surrealists in 1925, out of physically induced parameters which would allow the subconscious, for transgression, to become visible.





Henri Matisse at work. The colour image shows him at 83 years old. Somehow immobility and disability made his work more apparently 'his'. For me, HM's judgement of colour, composition and what-not-to-do are the ingredients. Aesthetic judgement is classically to do with standing back, object-subjective balance. The ageing HM overcame his limitations by using an elongated brush. He cut and then worked with an assistant-collaborator who would paste-up on the wall with him as onlooking instructor. Made his work more 'his'.

2 comments:

Bryony Quinn said...

i think it was an initial point made in the process lecture about whether we are being taught, or can even be taught design practice. or was it the process of design? or designing a process? either way, is that an argument of semantics or is it the same question asked in a different language? and by language i mean the language the rules of design are spoken in? how ever infinite a number of rules that there are, is it being taught how to cypher these what we're learning at school?

its all very well seeing the lines on a court and knowing that they create the limits of each game, but unless someone told you that blue was football and red was tennis then you would never know you were off side. everyone who is studying design clearly knows the talk, but you can speak a language and have no clue how to write your own name unless someone taught you. then you can go off and write it in every available space in a shameless selfpromotion. because you're cool.

Guppy said...

I'm really interested in this notion of play, and thought people need to see this video from TED.com

This video is a lecture by Tim Brown on creativity and play.

Link to video on TED.com