Monday, 12 May 2008

Game and play

Play in our times presents a paradox. Despite its wide use and continuous presence in different forms of cultures, it is distant and trapped in its own formations, the games. Games are being accused; play is being sacrilised and is placed on a pedestal. Running certain risks, within this structure, play’s influential role on our culture is questioned. If, following Giorgio Agamben, play’s significance lies on the fact that it can detach humanity from the “sacred”, play would need to liberate itself first from the constraints of the sacred. To achieve this, one should not deny play; because this would lead to its cancellation. What one should do is to profane, to neglect, to surpass the constraints and break the rules. And this again can happen only through play itself, through its anarchic and vivid features that are today being wept out. This is how the actions taken by the artists can be described: as actions of profanity where they appropriate the myth and reverse the ceremony of the sacred. This violation is also an act of play itself that is then set free from all constraints. But there is one last point to remember: According to Agamben, profanation gains its complete meaning only when what has been profaned, is then rendered back to the people, at their disposal to start all over again. So this act is not an act of cancellation or politicisation; it is an act about raising awareness and about re-assigning to play its capacity to become a passage for true life, as Vaneigem would describe it. Can art fulfill this? Let’s hope so and wait and see…

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