Monday, March 21, 2011

Ambiguity! (Is that clear?)

Brian Sutton-Smith's chapter "Play and Ambiguity" brings a lot of things together, and raises even more questions for our exploration of play and games. As we move towards the proposal for your project, and the class bifurcates (I just love working that word in whenever I can) into clusters around games or films, we will have different interests in play and ambiguity. But before that, we'll create some of our own games together as a group in the next couple of weeks.

So, back to some key concepts. Here are William Empson's seven kinds of ambiguity, ripped from p. 298 of Sutton-Smith's chapter.

Sutton-Smith outlines seven rhetorics, seeming to want to contribute seven of something of his own (and making me anxious that my virtual subjectivity definition only has five aspects, clearly lacking a couple):

The Rhetoric of play as . . .

1. progress
2. fate
3. power
4. identity
5. imaginary
6. self
7. frivolous

We shall discuss.

And to test our ambiguity levels, here are the instructions for the surrealist game Exquisite Corpse:

Write an article and an adjective on a piece of paper, then fold it over before passing it to your neighbor. Next, write a noun, then fold and pass. Now a verb, then fold and pass. Back to the article and adjective, then do the hokey pokey. No, really fold and pass, just checking to see if you are paying attention. Finish up with a noun. Unfold the papers and read aloud.

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