New Worcester in art (left this great autocorrect here) was the second of the bigger games we played and the only game that we played all together. Which makes sense there are very few games out there that can fit that many people with in such a short timeframe. The game is online here
It’s one of those game where the brilliance is in the simplicity like a well made France dish where the trick is in as few ingredients as possible (can you tell I’m writing this from a French restaurant?) (Note: Well I was in the lovely Montmartre in Vilnius when I wrote it, but I’m doing the corrections and editing back home in Denmark, where I’ve been for a few weeks now.)
Anyway in New voices in art you play new and upcoming artist who have had one of their pieces accepted into the prestigious exhibition “New vices in art”. (Dam you autocorrect) The game takes place during the opening reception, where all the artist are present and some hang arounds as well. And now everybody move around and look at art and mingle. As you do.
Before the start each played randomly draws an art piece that the organisers had but up before we came (but you could play this in a real gallery and use the real art. Just remember to ask first;)
Each player also draws an attitude to his or her piece that be all from “I’m a hack all the others are so good” to “I’m the only true artist here” and so on. I got the sentence: “Finally my piece got in, I don’t think, I could handle another rejection”. And I also drew a Video piece called “After love” that was very strange of a slowly woman waking up and then walking around dramatically in a dark room (yes all very symbolic)
But then came the first of the two things that really makes this game: we were given a very simple questionnaire about art, ourselves, creativity and so on. The questions were all agree disagree questions. We first had to fill this out as ourselves and then fill it out agian but this time as the artist we wanted to play. So one could chose to be as yourself on some points and completely opposite on others. One of the questions really hit home with me. It was: “I care a lot about what others think about me”, which is something I spend way too much time on. So I decided to focus on that and put my cheetah? Ah character in absolute opposite. A few of the other questions also was sort of connected to this, such as “I’m happy with who I am” and so on so where appropriate I also put them in opposite and left the rest like my self. That meant that I could focus completely on this one point and really work with a character who did not care about what others think of him and just act and say what he felt like.
That was both a great experience and also a bit scary and really interesting to work with. That of cause was my little project and not something the others could really see and not really the point of the game, which is to talk about art in a bit comical fashion. It was kind of a friendly parody on the artist and his surroundings. But for me that small element became the point and center of my game.
It was almost intoxicatingly liberating. I just had fun doing what I wanted to do. At one point one of the art videos caught my eye and I felt like watching the whole loop of about ten minutes (at least it felt like it. So normally i problery wouldn’t have done that, thinking what will the others think and I should be playing the game and so on. But not this time, I said to myself no no you want to watch this screw what the others think, so I did, and that was just one example of other things I did. It became a mental exercise I went back to during the trip, just saying: “no! Now you don’t care what others think,” and it’s something I’m still trying to do once in awhile. Its hard here in the real world, but I’m trying.
The high point of the game was when I openly criticized someone’s art and he whispered off game: “can I throw my drink in your face?” I said yes! by all means. So did that scene, it was perfect and a few minutes the game ended perfect timing.
The other part that made this game was its one mechanic called “tap the glass.” It meant that we were all walking around with champagne glasses (of course) and if someone tapped your glass you had to give an internal monologue and then drink of your glas to signal to the others that you were done. Of cause the monologue was not heard by the characters, but by the players who could then use this in their play. But another interesting thing was that it wasn’t you but the others that decided when you could give a monologue, which worked very well. It really gave something to play on and a good way to signal intentions to other players. Sort of “I tapped you glass because I need something to play on” Then you could say something that would give that player some inspiration for play. Or you could just tap to mess with people which also was fun.
And that’s it. That’s the game, a well made simple dish but full of taste. (My traditional onion soup has arrived) and the official program is now over. As I mentioned all evenings and even during lunch extra things happened both from organizers, experts and participants. I’m trying but I can’t quite remember what happened this evening. The first evening I think was “just” swimming in the fantastic lake. Oh I think the second evening was impro games by the lake. Where we met and played some games and most people came with suggestions. That was fun to try because we was such an international crew, so some games where the same, some completely new. I introduced people to my hack “All my little penguins” which is a mix between the warm up game penguins and flamingos and the Danish children game all my little chickens.
So that was only day two hang on for the rest.