Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Game

Scrapetool is an artist's book by Carolyn Leith in the collection of the Banff Centre's Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives. It is a board game with one die, one token, scorecards and a cardstock game board. The game aims to instruct about media representation of complex social issues. Players roll the die and move around the game board, whose spaces (numbered like TV channels) are images of monitors with news clichés. Players fill out the scorecard (a monthly calendar) with the clichés they land on, one cliché per day. Channel 48's text, for example is "Sexism charged in controversial case," while Channel 60's text is "Health care plan gains support." Scores are determined by how closely a cliché matches a new story delivered on the calendar day on the scorecard (more points if the cliché appears exactly).

I found of interest a discussion of the role of games in the game's instruction manual section "Reasons to Play." Art might be a kind of play (as the instruction state) so these reasons apply to the creation of art objects. Below is the text of this section:

In fun and play we recover the integral person, who in the workaday world or in professional life can use only a small sector of his being.

Games are popular art, collective, social reductions to the main drive or action of any culture.

Games are a way of adjusting to the specialized actions that occur in any social group.

As extensions of the popular response to the workaday stress, games become a faithful model of a culture.

Games are dramatic models of our psychological lives providing release of particular tensions.

Art, like games, became a mimetic echo of, and relief from, the old magic of total involvement.

For more on Scrapetool, see here.

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