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Physical

Art Deck

So, late last year we ran a series of drawing games, called Drawing Games because we’re really bad at names, at No Quarter. And one of them in particular – named Art Deck, for reasons as listed above – we really liked. Over the last six months we’ve been working on it, on and off, testing it out and developing it as part of the London Creative Network artist development programme.

The way the game works is: you lay out cards, one at a time, to form a sentence. There are three sentence parts. The first is usually a clear instruction: “draw a rectangle”, “draw some eyes”, “smash something against the paper”. The second is usually a compositional constraint or an adverb of some sort: “near the edge of the page”, “in red”, “petulantly”. The final card usually makes things difficult, or funny, or both: “behind your back”, “while carrying a burden”, “with your wrong hand”.

Seaside Games at SO Festival in Skegness

A line drawing of Skegness c. 1920s

On 1-2 July we were in Skegness as part of the wonderful SO Festival, with not one but two different games.

With these games – one physical, and one digital – we explored two different aspects of Skegness: the physicality of the town itself, with all its fascinating corners; and its history, full of museums built in shipwrecks and experimental amusement arcades and daredevils and all sorts of peculiar entertainments.

Playable Patterns

We recently spent a week at QUAD in Derby as part of our digital participatory artist residency. We’ll be going back in February; this post discusses what we’ve been making so far, and the games we’ve been testing out with different groups of players at QUAD.

When we play a digital game, we expect the game to pay attention to us. To know what we’re doing. To respond. Which is reasonable, right?

But the board of a board game doesn’t know what piece you’ve put down (well, with some exceptions). A hopscotch grid chalked on the ground doesn’t light up to let you know where your stone fell.

During our time at QUAD, we’ve been thinking about what happens if you try to make digital games where the play is socially, rather than technologically, mediated. What possibilities exist in this design space that are different from both traditional digital games, and from purely analogue installations?

Playable Patterns is an ongoing experiment in playable digital work where the interaction and play happens purely between people; where the computer doesn’t look at what you’re doing. Specifically, it’s a series of patterns that move and change in particular ways, designed to be projected onto walls or floors in order to enable people to play.