Friday, 9 April 2010

711 - A New Strategy

The Game Of Life makes my skin crawl a little. It's a boardgame that portrays life as a path through education or work to success, wealth, property and retirement. Then you die, sometimes lingeringly, though that isn't presented as an option on the official board.

The truth is that the game offers a baby-boomer life story, very modern, very black and white, and measured in dollars.

I'm in a conciliatory mood, so I want to suggest that this is a valid life story, but it is still, surely, only one of many. The postmodern Game Of Life would offer as many options, as many strategies, as each player chose to imagine.

My idea is that this could be the ideal way to start exploring what storying, as an artform, might mean in practice. I've started to get a grip on the concept of identity, but storying (follow the tags!) is more than the establishment of a conscious identity: it's also about arranging life circumstances in such a way that moments evolve into the stories you want, as a conscious and creative act.

It's easy to get bogged down: if you can't generate a story worthy of Tolstoy, Trevor, Proulx or Nabokov, why start? But games, especially the classics, are simple, like narrative rules. Though they do generate great complexity, which is why chess is a beautiful art, they grow organically from very small beginnings.

What better way, therefore, for me to begin to get a grip on the rules of narrative than to play them out as a series of games?

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