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Materials & Invitations & Play

Started by droqen, December 03, 2021, 06:28:32 PM

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Quote from: droqena game is some materials, as well as – perhaps – an invitation to play with those materials in combination with other materials
link to full comment on electrondance.com

I had just started reading Play Anything when I wrote this, so it bears some strong similarity to the content of that book, which discusses playgrounds -- magic circles circumscribed around real things, anything -- and then engaging with those playgrounds. Playing.

But to take this a step further, everything is just materials, and I suppose that an artwork is always some combination of materials and invitation to do something with them. The painting that hangs in a museum is a material (paint on canvas, canvas in frame, frame within room inside building) as well as an invitation to look at and think about those materials, what they represent, why they are here.

The first chapter in Play Anything is entitled Everywhere, Playgrounds.

I recognize this and love it, but as an artist I find myself thinking Everywhere, opportunities to make invitations.


So, I'd like to start thinking in these terms, because I find it all too easy to lose sight of the fact that what I make exists as part of a social fabric and only has meaning in as much as it finds someone to care about it. I can make all the materials I want, but without people accepting my invitations, I'm not making anything, and I'm not contributing anything, and I cease to exist. Of course, an even worse state of existence is sending out no invitations at all...

The invitation is what makes an artwork art. Otherwise, it's just materials for someone else to (possibly!) circumscribe their own playground(s) around, in the same category as road signs and trashcans, except they don't save lives or reduce litter.


(I love road signs and trashcans, fwiw. I take pictures of them when I ought to be photographing more interesting stuff that's nearby. It's just more interesting to me, sometimes, to take notice of these things that exist to be used, rather than to be looked at.)


Anyway, I think this is why e.g. elevator music is not commonly regarded as art and neither are many entertainment products... they are materials like anything else, but the invitation to consider them as something interesting is not present.

This really just opens up a whole other can of worms: what invitations are legitimate art invitations? I don't know. I'm not going to post this. Meh, have my doubts! I think there's something here, I just have not yet figured it out.