Play strategies within artistic practice

I’ve been thinking about the different ways ‘play’ is used in artistic practice, and was inspired by Mary Flanagan’s book on ‘Critical Play’. She came up with a number of  possible categories. Trying them out for size here:

.fluxkitSubversion: turning things upside down, overthrowing a system, undermining an institution, event, object.  A creative rather than a destructive act. Because they exist as rule systems, games are really ideally suited for subversive practices. Example: Fluxus games like George Brecht’s Fluxkits

Intervention: direct actions that engage with places, issues, institutions. Artists seeking to open up a dialogue by transgressing a border in order to bring about a transformation. Example: Yoko Ono’s ‘Cut Piece

Disruption: a purposefull act that changes the way a particular set of rules, logic or paradigm is operating. Example: Gabriel Orozco’s ‘Horses Running Endlessly

Unplaying: enacting ‘forbidden’ or secret scenes. Reversing roles and revising traditional expectations.Example: Claude Cahun’s self portrait

One that I will add myself: interactivity and other forms of  co-creation. Example: Ricardo Basbaum’s ‘Me – You: Choreographies, Games and Exercises’

Of course these are no watertight compartments, but these categories could be useful as a starting point for my taxonomy of the use of ‘play’ in artistic practice.
cut piecehorses

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