Conversational ping-pong

Got a multi-layered game of  ping pong set up 101_0595101_0589 today at Tractie – can now play and look on from above at the same time. Have played a number of games with faculty members and fellow students. Quite challenging, this game!  The idea was to start a conversation at two levels, seen from the ‘ordinary’ me and seen from above. What happens if an everyday pattern (playing table tennis) is simultaneously seen from above?

This is what I learned:

– this experiment is more visual than the earlier ones (oo3, oo6, see under ‘experiments’) which is good; there is enough visual attraction,  even if no one is playing;

– when playing, I tuned out the extra information from the screens, had to, because  ping pong is so fast & I had to keep the eye on the ball;

– reactions differ – people that believe that art as best seen from a distance (with the hands on the back) don’t enter into the spirit of the game; part of the public [which part?] is grimly determined to remain just that: public.

– people started using the setup in the same way that one uses a mirror:  stand, see what they look like seen from above, move around & see what that looks like. It works that the screens are on the ground, people move towards it and around it and start playing with that movement  in a very natural way.

As a next step I may need a ‘slower’ game and also a more locative game – body movements not hand movements. Do I now make a new version of the good old hide-and-seek? Experimenting, playing  with this new setup & reading up on artist like Bassbaum and Holler  I have come to  suspect that being part of  new networks of technology may  lead to  totally new constructions of ‘self’. We may have a new algorithm for constructiong a ‘self’,  from the outside in, not from the inside out.  If it looks good on video, on pictures, on Facebook, Hyves, Youtube, it must be the real me. If I am not represented on the ‘net – I may not exist at all.

So, ping pong proved to be  too fast; Game element could simply  be ‘see and be seen’;  Suggest a route for people to walk? Use texts to underscore the  ‘see and be seen’ theme or to direct the flow?

As Arjen said: more research needs to be done.

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