Friday, February 27, 2004
The Junkyard Sports Website - now in your virtual neighborhood
It is with something approximating a paroxysm of pleasure that I herewith announce the Grand Opening of the Junkyard Sports Website
The plans for this enterprise are vast and unparalleled. Well, maybe paralleled, but definitely unhypotenused. Note, for example, the Junkyard Sports® Hall of Fame
. Here you can read about such Junkyardly marvels as Frying Pan Baseball (I've already had at least one group ask me to teach them how to play it), Stick Ball (of course), and the little known sport of Eraser Bouncing.
In a similarly rich vein, you can not only read about the paradigm-busting, joy-provoking Junkyard Sports® Events
but see a couple of exemplary Junkyard Sports, as created by participants in a DeepFUN Seminar at the Esalen Institute, actually being played.
O, I could go on, and on. I think I'll do the former.
The drawing, by the way, is by my friend Bob Gregson
, who will be doing all the drawings for Junkyard Sports, the Book
, and is the author of some of my favorite play books, including The Outrageous Outdoor Game Book
The wonderful, whimsical website design? By the always amazing Julie Wolpers of Webcurrent Communications
, who also designed my Technography and my Coworking and my DeepFUN
Thursday, February 26, 2004
? Why yes, it seems to be. A combination, one might say, of breakout, as it were, and bowling, so to speak. Is it fun? Why, as a matter of fact, yes?
Is it noteworthy fun? Again, perhaps yes. Noteworthy because it combines two games and comes up with something new. Not so new as to make you have to learn anything. Which is also noteworthy. But new enough to make you want to play it again, and perhaps again.
This idea of combining two games to create something fun and new is a very powerful one. We used it over and over again in developing New Games. Like, for example, combining, say, the game of Rock-Scissors-Paper with, um, a game of tag, to produce something you might call "Rock Scissors Paper Tag
." Which turned out to be one of the more successful of New Games and is still played both hither and yon. Two teams (maybe three). They meet and decide what they want to throw, Rock, Scissors, or, well, you know. Then the two teams line up facing each other. All players show their team's choice. And the team that wins chases the other team back to the boundary line. Any player tagged joins the tagging team.
When you click on the link you'll need to be patient, because the site first runs an ad about why you should download the game. But it's well worth the wait. IMHO-wise.
Thanks for the find, Informador
Labels: games, theory
Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Finding the Fun Way In
I was having a little dilaogue about making things fun - especially about making things that are like work fun - on the Playful Path
conference. I wrote:
I've been thinking recently about cold calling. The very word "cold"
is, well, not one of the words that we usually use in connection with
fun. Cold calling. And I've been wondering, maybe there IS a way for it
to be fun. And wondering even more if somehow I've let it become much
less fun than it could be. Somehow, maybe, I've let myself get too
serious about the whole thing.
And I got this response, from colleague and mentor Bill Harris
So, what about hot calling? What if you made a list of the business
parks or office buildings (or similar) in your region and went (probably
with permission of the landlord :-) to one a week, holding a junkyard
sports lunch break and having business cards and flyers available (maybe
even a few Deep Fun shirts to sell)? What if you could make it seem
like a surprise to all the participants, even though the landlords knew
in advance? What if people at as-yet-unvisited companies started to get
anxious for you to drop in on them and it began to take on a life of its
own? What if you planted the thought in participants' minds that they
go away refreshed and ready to really dig in and do good for society
that afternoon? What if you figured out a way to get introduced to the
top manager at those places (at least some of them) to talk about your
ideas for 10 minutes at the end? What if those managers saw a
correlation between the junkyard sports and a fired-up workgroup? What
if you, after doing a couple to clean up any rusty edges, invited the
press (the LA Times, NPR, whatever) to see the "Pied Piper of Workplace
Fun" or some such? (Major Fun works, too!) What if some of those
managers brought you back to do what was on your flyer? (You did have
it say you'd help them start off their own lunchtime junkyard Olympics,
right, and that they could do it on their own after you'd helped them a
few times? You did say they could hire you back for the closing
ceremony, except you'd just re-open the Games again?) What if you told
us what you think of this crazy idea? :-) ... and if you actually try
it, tell us what happens? (They say they let you have at least one
phone call if you get arrested; maybe you can call one of us to post
your report! :-) What if I learn to organize text into paragraphs or
What a joy it is to have friends like Bill. How essential for us all to find people who can help us find the fun way in.
Labels: Major Fun
Monday, February 23, 2004
The thing about sand sculpture and sand painting - it just doesn't last. O, I guess you could spray it with something. You could maybe keep the art from blowing or washing away. I suppose you could even make a casting of it and send it to a museum, but you'd still be missing something.
It's the very impermanence of it all that makes it so compelling. It's the very exacting and painstaking skills of the artists, combined
with the inevitable destruction, that makes it so profoundly playful, so deeply spiritual, so thoroughly fun. Take a look, for example, at this collection of sand sculpture links
from the always remarkable Grow-a-Brain
weblog. And then also maybe take a look at this collection of Tibetan sand paintings
. Kind of a deeper fun, I grant you, yet, for all the painstaking
, still made to blow away into time and memory.
Which is what games are. And sports to a maybe lesser degree (with all the pictures and videos and stuff) are. And music and theater (especially when we're all musicians and actors). Uncollectable art. Vanishing art, art that in its very disappearance becomes forever embedded in the soul. Fun.
Friday, February 20, 2004
The Authentic Happiness Newsletter
is one part of Dr. Martin E. P. Seligman's tireless campaign to get the psychiatric establishment, and perhaps the rest of the world, to acknowledge happiness as a phenomenon worthy of deep mulling.
"...the core thesis in Authentic Happiness is that there are three very different routes to happiness. First the Pleasant Life, consisting in having as many pleasures as possible and having the skills to amplify the pleasures. This is, of course, the only true kind of happiness on the Hollywood view. Second, the Good Life, which consists in knowing what your signature strengths are, and then recrafting your work, love, friendship, leisure and parenting to use those strengths to have more flow in life. Third, the Meaningful Life, which consists of using your signature strengths in the service of something that you believe is larger than you are."
As you no doubt have already predicted, the first kind of happiness (the one you, I and Hollywood are most familiar with) is shown to be the least useful of the three - especially when it comes to "life satisfaction." Which, ultimately, I guess, is what it all does come to. Living the Good Life (doing what you do best) and using it to do good things (the Meaningful Life) may not sound like as much fun as, say, a roller coaster ride or ten million dollars, but it's the kind of fun that goes deep, so to speak. Deep enough to last a lifetime, and beyond.
Thursday, February 19, 2004
A Playful Approach to Learning on the Web
is described as a "playful approach to sharpening your academic vocabulary." Excuse me for getting pedagogic, but there's a very big lesson to be learned here about learning and learning games and play and the Internet and stuff.
Today's "quarry" is fane
. Go ahead, click on it and see if you can guess what it means. It's all right. I'll wait.
Did you guess correctly
? Did you notice all the "sightings" on the correct page? How each of them point you to some fane-ish page on the web. Like this obscure, yet potentially titillating "Keats, Teats, and the Fane of Poesy
" or the clearly questionable THE FANE OF THE PSILOCYBE MUSHROOM
It's fun, isn't it? Fun to test and expand your vocabulary. Fun to find yourself on unexpectedly connected, sometimes clearly bizarre places on the Internet. It's kind of an accidental learning. Eventually, you guess the right word. When you do, you find yourself informed and invited to strange, and sometimes highly informative sites you'd never visit on purpose. And yet, every now and then, another bookmarkworthy site comes up, and a new light shines.
In many ways, Word Safari is a paradigm for what an effectively playful, web-supported learning experience should be. I hope it's a lesson widely learned.
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Sometimes, Nothing helps. Sometimes, Nothing is good enough. Sometimes, Nothing feels right. Not anything. Not something. Nothing
Perhaps it's time for a little more Nothing in your life.
"We believe in nothing, and we think you should too. We have our workers doing nothing around the clock, finding new ways to package nothing, new problems to confront (in our big 32 page manual which is offered free with every purchase), or doing literally nothing just to waste time. Right now we are drastically understaffed, but we aren't in a hurry because we want to make sure we get nothing right...We have nothing to do, nothing to eat, nothing to wear, nothing to say, and many other concepts. We are pleased to announce that nothing is available at this time! We are so excited about nothing that we can't wait to tell everyone about "it". Order Today!"
Get Nothing today. There's nothing like it.
Tuesday, February 17, 2004
I was pointing and clicking my way through DMarie's Time Capsule
, an online tool for finding out what happened on your birthday, when I realized how much fun I was having.
And that, kind of, well, surprised me, to discover how much fun it was, placing myself, as it were, in time, and seeing the connections to other things that were happening when I was. As I was in the process of congratulating myself for discovering this obviously little-known source of actual fun, and marveling over the wealth of detail available to me through this virtual time capsule, I inadvertently moused over to the site of the company sponsors DMarie's Time Capsule - DMarie
itself. For a most puzzling moment or two, I grew both dazed and confused. What was I doing looking at the website of a Scrapbook Supply
company? I mean, Scrapbook Supply? And why would such a company create such a wonderful thing as this Time Cap.....?
Oh, of course, Scrapbooking, Time Capsules. Scrapbooking. Time capsules. All about encapsulating time. No? An art unto itself, yes? With an online collection of "22660 entries
in 85 different categories." And here I was thinking I'd discovered a new way to have fun.
Monday, February 16, 2004
So this guy, Patrick R. Michaud, takes a grape, cuts it in half, and sticks it in the microwave. Can you guess what happens?
In the words of the researcher
: "the effect of the microwaves on the sliced grapes produced an extremely satisfying flare and associated sparks. ... The sparks began approximately 5 seconds after the microwave was started. Approximately 3-4 seconds after that, the force of the sparks separated the grape halves by approximately 1.5 cm, ending the theatrical effects. At that point the microwave session was aborted to prevent further damage to the microwave and/or grape."
I don't know why I like this kind of pseudo-scientific silliness so much. Perhaps because it reveals something about the nature of science and scientists. Because in the fun we find in making something "seem" scientific we expose a bit of the seemier side of science - revealing the illusion as much as the art of the scientific method. I also like that I actually learn something from this kind of silliness. Something wonderfully useless. Like, for example, that there's potentially as much fun to be derived from exploding grapes as from fermenting them.
Sunday, February 15, 2004
Play as if Your Life Depended on It
Play as if Your Life Depended on It
is the first fitness book I've ever read, ever, to make having fun as integral to exercise as muscle growth. It's clearly written, but it's so dense with new insights into the very nature of physical being that you kind of get distracted from the realization that this man, Frank Forencich, has made the fun-exercise connection. It wasn't until I got to page 213 that I really understood what he is all about.
"One way to make movement more playful," he writes, "is to take boring single-plane movements and make them more complex and multi-planar...Instead of doing a straight squat, see if you can create a variation that turns or spirals...By creating these variations, you'll not only make your training more functional and effective, but you'll have a lot more fun as well."
See, he's talking about fun! As if it were OK to have it. Even in places like Fitness Centers.
This is a brave thing to do, especially in a world where people get so driven they forget who's doing the driving, if you know what I mean. It's a think that could completely prevent you from being taken seriously.
Further evidence of how serious Forencich is about this fun thing can be found on his site, GoAnimal
. (GoAnimal? you ask. As in "Go ahead, be the animal that you are." As in, what a remarkably fundamental connection to help people make.). See, for example, his collection of games
. They may not be your idea of fun. At first. Until you realize how much more fun they are than your idea of exercise.
Friday, February 13, 2004
I left my pictur on th ground wher u walk
Apparently, 2002 was the last year of the Text Poetry Competition. Luckily, the results are with us still.
And the £1,500 winner was Emma Passmore, for this:
I left my pictur on th ground wher u walk
so that somday if th sun was jst right
& th rain didnt wash me awa
u might c me out of th corner of yr i & pic me up
See, it's poetry that you write for a text messaging system. That's what SMS must mean.
Graham Francis won the Orange prize for creative use of SMS for his GLSTNBRY FSTVL
seasnd w msts n fruitlss mellwnss
n pungent smlls f grss ovr hay
we flp nto ponchos fr a mnts rest
n try nt t pln t rst f t day
's a link to more text poems and more about the contest itself.
Play on, ye text-messaging poets, play on!
Thursday, February 12, 2004
Today is the grand opening of the Junkyard Sports website
. It's definitely a small step for funkind, but a step of some significance for this vast junkly enterprise.
Speaking of which, I could use a little help. It's with the checklist
. I'm not sure how comprehensive it needs to be. But in the mean time, I'd, like, really
appreciate any questions you might have about what's already there.
If you've anything at all to add or ask, won't you please, please E-me
? Or even better, subscribe
to the very new Junkyard Sports online community
and join the discussion?
Major Fun gets Wild
In a recent press release
, the manufacturers of the Major FUN Award
-winning game Wildwords
made significant Much Ado about the award - significantly more Ado then has yet been Adone by any other game manufacturer.
This news initiated a ripple of cosmic glee throughout the known funiverse.
We (the games tasters of Redondo Beach) really like Wildwords. And I, the originator of the Major FUN Award
, find myself beyond gratified to see the seal so prominently displayed.
There is one thing in their press release, however, that I find myself needing to reflect upon: now that a connection has finally been drawn between the Major FUN Award
and the search for a cure for colon cancer, I needs must perhaps take this whole award thing even more to, um heart.
Labels: Major Fun
Wednesday, February 11, 2004
The Name of the Game is "Whimsy"
The world of compter games, and, consequently, of computer game players, can get very harsh. Despite the endless possibilities of faster processor and more graphic glories and completely surrounding sound, most of our games are given over, as we are, to violence. Not that violence can't be fun. Not that there's anything wrong with violent games. Just that there are far too few respites. Ferry Halim
is one of the few. A true respite.
Ferry Hallim demonstrates that all it takes to make something as interesting to play with as violence is a little applied whimsy.
Whimsy. Hallim is a master of it. His games are true diversions, invitations to worlds that simply don't take themselves very seriously. He is the creator of light-hearted games that are bouyant enough to lighten-up even the dark of desire and the heavy of heart - at least for a few minutes. Like the game Summer Walk
, where you make three bird-like things hop into the good floating things, to the tune of the pleasant guitar. Or A Cupid's Day
where you, as Cupid, shoot arrows into clouds.
Whimsy. What a powerful concept.
Ferry Hallim is the newest inductee to the Major FUN Hall of Fame
Labels: Major Fun, Virtual Toys
Tuesday, February 10, 2004
I was telling my respected friend and much admired media mavin Bryan of Infocult
about my discovery of this most amazing little movie-thing I discovered called "Paper Sky
." "Oh," said Bryan, "Paper Sky. Beautiful little story. I'm so happy to hear that it's online again." Again
. OK, so maybe I'm not the most astute follower of online media. Actually, I'm not much of a follower at all, focusing as I do on the interactive
stuff - like, you know, games. But Paper Sky, with all it's childlike art and cardboard-cutout-look, and poignant accordion music (who'd've thought? Accordion music? poignant?), and it's wonderful, day-in-the-life perspective, is at least as much of a work of play as it is a work of art.
Bryan, sensing that it might be time for me to go a bit further into the art-side of media, directed me towards a website called "The Elements of Digital Storytelling
. I was overwhelmed. It's a huge site, built on an analysis of over "thousands of digital stories." Fortunately, for the less-analytical-many, you can skip the carefully structured, remarkably concise deconstruction of it all, and go more or less directly to a collection of Innovative Examples
which illustrate, with multimediated clarity, both the brilliance of the analysis and the playfulness of the art.
Monday, February 09, 2004
Extreme Junkyard Rugby
, as found on Milk and Cookies
, should prove of enormous benefit for those of us who needs must envision all the possible outcomes of Junkyard Sports. including the Extreme.
Is it possible that despite my vasty efforts to embed the sense of fun and love along with the spontaneity and creativity of the Junkyard moment, there will be those who take it too far? For whom danger and damage are as much part of the Junkyard experience as fun?
Yes, Bernie, as so clearly demonstrated by Nike's vision of Extreme Junkyard Rugby
, apparently there will.
And yet, nevertheless, I play on. Bringing Junkyard Sports® however I can into the world.
Forgive me. I must.
Labels: Junkyard Sports
"I have been collecting thrift store paintings and 'naive' art since I moved into my first apartment years ago.. My tastes run towards the more unusual or poorly executed pieces, and my standard reply when people ask what type of paintings I collect is, "Anything old or weird". Although I long ago ran out of usable wall space to display my collection, the thrill of the hunt still has me happily digging through dozens of dusty paintings at thrift stores and flea markets in my quest for new 'masterpieces'. The indescribable feeling I get with each new treasure unearthed
has led to the creation of the Thrift Store Art "Galleries" you find here." (Introductory material from The PSB Gallerey of Thriftstore Art)
I would describe PSB
's "indescribable feeling" as that of "fun." Perhaps even of "deep fun." Fun that is powerful enough to make someone create galleries of images that are "naive" enough to touch you, like a child might touch you, innocently, and yet often remarkably deep.
Fun is everywhere evident in this collection and in the passion of the collector. These are all things done for their own sake - the collection, the art. I think it's the first time I've ever seen, so clearly, how much fun.
Friday, February 06, 2004
Opening the Global Games Closet
When you're looking for a game for the whole family, that anybody between the ages of 2 and 99 could play, you sometimes have to look very far, in deed, to whole, as a matter of fact, other cultures. Like the French one that invented the game of Quilles
It's a bowling-kind of game, only the bowling ball is on a rope, so it doesn't get really rolled or thrown even. In stead, it just gets aimed and released. So for those in the family who aren't so good at throwing a sixteen-pound ball down a narrow 60-foot long, gutter-bound alley, Quilles is probably the game of games, bowling-wise. Especially in the ten-pin backyard version
But I digress.
"The Germantown Academy Multicultural Games Unit
." This is where I found out about the game of Quilles. It's also where I found an inspiring collection of family-worthy games from around the world. It was done by sixth graders, apparently for highly justifiable educational purposes, which I find deeply reassuring.
I found a whole nother game called Quilles
. The site has a lovingly rendered Flash Demo of this version of Quilles. Only this one takes the "hit the pins with a ball" concept to a level of untethered complexity and challenge that, though perhaps not appealing to every member of the family, seems like a remarkably playworthy find.
A possible third:
As to the picture of the table top version of Quilles that accompanies this article, I found it on The Games Forum
yet another digressionworthy invitation to games of the continent and isles and perhaps even the non-European ilk.
Thursday, February 05, 2004
The Oxford University Speculative Fiction Group Silly Games List and One-legged Herring dueling
The Oxford University Speculative Fiction Group Silly Games List
- yes, the
Oxford University Speculative Fiction Group Silly Games List - is, as advertised, a list of sometimes very silly games, authored, as one might suspect, by actual students of the aforementioned.
As Major Fun, Defender of the Playful, I am both heartened by and in awe of those few who have in fact managed to find a place for silly games, e'en in the dark bastions of the terminally academic. In awe, because some of these games are true masterpieces of silliness. My favorite so far:
One-legged Herring dueling
This requires two idiots, two herring, and stout washable rainwear. It should be played outdoors. Contestants stand on one leg facing each other, holding their right foot in their left hand for balance. In their right hand, they each hold a herring by one end. They hit each other about the body with the floppy ends of their herring for one minute; the winner is anybody who refuses to play, closely followed by the player whose herring is most severely damaged by the experience.
Labels: Major Fun
Wednesday, February 04, 2004
My name is Andrew, and I'm a play-a-holic.
On today's Playful Path
My name is Andrew, and I'm a play-a-holic.
Sometimes I feel like the desire to play is a disease. At age 36, most of my adult friends seem to have the attitude that play is for children, not grown-ups.
Maybe it's just the mentality here in Pittsburgh, PA. It just seems to me like the grown-ups I know are afraid to be silly. Don't want to play for the sake of playing.
I've posted to the old list about a game a few of us sometimes play called "Murder: A Twisted Game of Tag
". Getting past players to return is pretty easy -- once you know how much fun it is, you're anxious to play again. But getting new people to join the fun is difficult. They can't seem to grasp the idea that it's OK for grown-ups to run around in the dark with flashlights playing tag. That's the kind of thing children do, not adults.
Another thing grown-ups seem to have trouble with is being impromptu. I realize it can be difficult, if you have kids or a demanding job, to just call up a friend and have a spur-of-the-moment get-together. Many folks I know would only do that if their bubble was about to burst and they need to spill their guts to someone pronto, to maintain their sanity. How do you convince them to say "yes" when you just want to meet in the park to play Frisbee or come over for a volley of Nerf Table Tennis?
Most of the *new* friends I've made over the past few years are a lot younger than me. I have one friend, whom I truly consider a friend, who hasn't even turned 18 yet! It's not that I don't want to hang out with people my own age, it's that people my own age seem to have forgotten how to hang out!
Have any of you come up against this kind of resistance? How do you overcome it? How do you convince an adult that silliness is a great thing to be at any age?
Noise E Piranha
it is in deed. A social disease. We have all been repeatedly re-infected with the sobriety virus, every day at school, at work, in the military.
Those of us, like you and I Andrew, seem to be naturally immune, our astonishing recuperating powers bringing us back to healthy fun, usually in a matter of minutes. Though sometimes it takes what seems like days, I tell you, maybe weeks even.
This is why we need to exercise so much compassion with our fellow Westerners. Even though we as a nation have managed to package fun so well that we bring it to virtually every part of the world, most of us have done so at the cost of our own fun. If we insist on reminding people of the fun they could be having, we only inflame the disease and aggravate it to a fever pitch of anger and confusion.
But you know, even when we were kids, we found our safe places for play - in the garage, or behind it, or at night. And sometimes even in the street. I think we knew even then that things like playing in public are political acts.
The Real Office Olympics
Even though I've written about this clip
before, I keep coming back to it. Yes, those gentlemen are in deed rowing down the aisle, passing cubicle and conference desk. And yes again, this clip is still very funny.
And still, it gives me pause.
I was, at the time, Googling for some reference to the fun-work connection, thinking, as I am wont to do, thoughts remarkably similar to those that led me to writing an article called the "The Fun of Work
," in which I muse on the fun that people report actually having whilst actually working. And, ironically enough, I am reminded of the non-working kind of fun at work illustrated in the image, and am forced to admit to myself how much more fun it might be.
One one hand, this Office Olympics idea veritably reeks of fun. A kind of fun that has been researched in depth by the department of Library Sciences at Kent State University, as documented in this Office Olympics 2000: The games from down under
, wherein one reads about the inevitability of Periodical Ping Pong
and the exacting performance required of the Rubber Band Archer
And on yet another hand, I can't help but reflect upon what one might call the "Real Office Olympics" and the amazing, undocumented accomplishments of those business athletes who meet the challenge of the daily task-on-hand, and find therein delight.
Tuesday, February 03, 2004
The world is made of two kinds of stuff: 1) fun stuff, and 2) stuff that hasn't been made fun yet. Currently, you'll find the world filled with a lot more stuff of the number two kind.
It is my personal belief that the goal of a life-well-lived, or of any good game, is to turn the not-yet-fun into the undeniably fun. Which brings me to Boxbots
- Jonathan Keller's collection of cardboard robots made out of, well, boxes. Boxes, you know, like cereal boxes and detergent boxes.
You might need to see the whole collection at once
to get the needed perspective on this magnificent contribution to all funkind. Note how funny the robots look, and how many of them are smiling at you Almost too funny to be taken seriously enough to be considered art. Which is the whole other point. About what we consider art. About the art of transforming the undeniably fun into the significantly serious.
Labels: art, Junk, playfulness
Monday, February 02, 2004
is a racing/bidding/bartering/strategy game for three, or better, four players. It is definitely one of your more complex games, involving, as it does: racing, bidding, bartering and strategizing. But it is not one of your more difficult games - and that's what makes it so noteworthy. That it's acutally possible for anyone over, say, ten to do all those things at more or less the same time. Not only possible, but fun.
The race is for score. In fact, the score board is a race track. The bidding and bartering is for jewels or points. You start with a showdown, all players choosing between one of three possible things they're interested in bidding and bartering for: position, points or jewels. If you're the only one choosing a particular action, well, then, you go right ahead and do it. If someone else has made the same choice, prepare to barter. You need jewels in order to barter. Which is precisely why you might not be the only one choosing jewels. Which makes it more of a gamble. Especially if three or more people also chose jewels.
On the other hand, it doesn't matter how many jewels you have if you don't win. Which is determined by how many points you have. Which is determined by your position on the inner race track. Which determines what everyone is bidding and bartering for.
OK. So it's going to take some time to learn the game. And no, it isn't like one of those elegant, perfect information, Japanese Go experiences. But it is fun. And often surprising. And not too challenging. And though you're competing, and though only one of you can win, there's just enough luck involved to keep you from taking it too seriously.
Sunday, February 01, 2004
Art with Art, Fun with Fun
The art of M. C. Escher
is a testimony to the power of play. His love of the impossibility of illusion and the rigors of mathematics. His delight in the lifelong dance between mastery and mystery. His sense of wonder. He explains: "I don't grow up. In me is the small child of my early days." A visit to this gallery
of his works is powerful enough evidence of his dedication to the sheer ambiguity of it all.
Recently, I came across this
remarkable animation by Christobal Villa. It is a stunningly beautiful tribute to Escher and a remarkable achievement, adding yet more wonder and more play to an already wonderfully playful art work. Villa plays with the illusion of the Snake painting (illustrated above), giving it light and motion and delicate mystery. The use of Erik Satie's music adds wonder to wonder, making the whole thing, well, wonderful.
Then there's this jigsaw puzzle
. I appreciated how all the pieces are in their proper orientation, reducing unnecessary tedium and adding a level of clarity to the puzzle. But I appreciated even more that here was yet another work of play, playing with yet another.
Finally, here's a site with some remarkable examples of Escher-inspired origami
. Equally jaw-dropping-worthy craftspersonship, equally adding fun to fun, illusion to illusion, art to art.
Bernie DeKoven, funsmith
Labels: art, fun, playfulness