IxD Play 01: PLAY 101

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The first lecture in the IxD Play course at CCA. An overview of the fundamentals of play.

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  • Stuart Brown TED: http://www.ted.com/talks/stuart_brown_says_play_is_more_than_fun_it_s_vital.html
  • Johan Huizinga was a Dutch anthropologist and cultural historian.
  • Play is PRIMARY. Play came first. Play has its own inherent value, else we would not see it so prevalently throughout the animal kingdom. Play is dangerous. Play can kill. It must be worth that risk.
  • But without play we could not imagine the constructs that become culture. Culture cannot just spring up out of air; it arises from play. Role play, ritual play. We are made to play.
  • We can find the play in many cultural artifacts: eg – our two party “team” political system,
  • We can find the play in many cultural artifacts: eg – our two party “team” political system.
  • In a Utopia we are freed from evil, free from strife and war. If you think about the most aspirational, elevated goals, they are often dependent on “evil” to exist: curing cancer, ending hunger, world peace. Without strife, we would need to create our own challenges. We would come up with games.
  • Stuart Brown TED: http://www.ted.com/talks/stuart_brown_says_play_is_more_than_fun_it_s_vital.html
  • The Absence of Play is tied to Violence
  • Much like dogs play bow, we also have play signals. These are invitations for people to join us in our play.
  • Much like dogs play bow, we also have play signals. These are invitations for people to join us in our play.
  • We’ve even evolved to extend that play state as much as possible.
  • Quotes from “The Well-Played Game” MIT Press, 2013.
  • Quotes from “The Well-Played Game” MIT Press, 2013.
  • IxD Play 01: PLAY 101

    1. 1. 01
    2. 2. TODAY’S COMPANION MATERIALS R E A D I N G S Bernie DeKoven – • The Well-Played Game Bernard Suits – • Life, Grasshopper, Utopi a Johan Huizinga – • Homo Ludens O T H E R M E D I A Stuart Brown - • “Play” TED Folk Games – • ((Many)) I X D P L A Y C H E L S E A H O W E 2
    3. 3. BUT FIRST, A QUESTION … I X D P L A Y C H E L S E A H O W E 3 WHY DO WE CARE?
    4. 4. “What do most Nobel Laureates, innovative entrepreneurs, artists and performers, well- adjusted children, happy couples and families, and the most successfully adapted mammals have in common? They play enthusiastically throughout their lives.” - Stuart Brown Cultural Necessity Johan Huizinga Psychological Necessity Bernard Suits Developmental Necessity Stuart Brown Spiritual Necessity Bernie DeKoven I X D P L A Y C H E L S E A H O W E 4 PLAY IS A NECESSITY
    5. 5. I X D P L A Y C H E L S E A H O W E 5
    6. 6. JOHAN HUIZINGA – PLAY IN CULTURE I X D P L A Y C H E L S E A H O W E 6 Play is older than culture, for culture, however inadequately defined, always presupposes human society, and animals have not waited for man to teach them their playing.
    7. 7. JOHAN HUIZINGA – PLAY IN CULTURE I X D P L A Y C H E L S E A H O W E 7 play is an integral part of the human experience & a necessary condition for the generation of culture
    8. 8. JOHAN HUIZINGA – PLAY IN CULTURE I X D P L A Y C H E L S E A H O W E 8 … civilization is, in its earliest phases, played. It does not come from play like a baby detaching itself from the womb: it arises in play, and never leaves it.
    9. 9. JOHAN HUIZINGA – PLAY IN CULTURE I X D P L A Y C H E L S E A H O W E 9 … civilization is, in its earliest phases, played. It does not come from play like a baby detaching itself from the womb: it arises in play, and never leaves it. EXERCISE Think of an activity or construct in our culture that is play-like, playful, or otherwise play-ish.
    10. 10. I X D P L A Y C H E L S E A H O W E 10
    11. 11. BERNARD SUITS – LIFE & UTOPIA I X D P L A Y C H E L S E A H O W E 11 “The fact that this is the central Utopian activity shows that game- playing is the supreme intrinsic good, the one most worth choosing for itself, or apart from its effects.”
    12. 12. I X D P L A Y C H E L S E A H O W E 12
    13. 13. STUART BROWN – PSYCHOLOGY OF PLAY the opposite of play isn’t work – it’s depression I X D P L A Y C H E L S E A H O W E 13
    14. 14. STUART BROWN – PLAY DEPRIVATION violence is tied to an absence of play experiences I X D P L A Y C H E L S E A H O W E 14
    15. 15. STUART BROWN – PLAY SIGNALS • We all have the capacity to Play Signal • The basis of human trust is established through play signals • We begin to lose these as adults • Body, facial, gestural I X D P L A Y C H E L S E A H O W E 15
    16. 16. STUART BROWN – PLAY SIGNALS • We all have the capacity to Play Signal • The basis of human trust is established through play signals • We begin to lose these as adults • Body, facial, gestural I X D P L A Y C H E L S E A H O W E 16 EXERCISE What are some specific play signals that humans use to communicate a willingness to play, a desire to trust?
    17. 17. STUART BROWN – NEOTENY • Neoteny – the retention of immature qualities into adulthood • Explore backwards to the clearest, most joyful moment – and figure out how that connects to your life now I X D P L A Y C H E L S E A H O W E 17
    18. 18. I X D P L A Y C H E L S E A H O W E 18
    19. 19. BERNIE DEKOVEN “The idea that there is such a thing as the well- played game represents a profound synthesis. It is a combination of the concepts of play and game, yielding a larger concept – the experience and expression of excellence.” I X D P L A Y C H E L S E A H O W E 19
    20. 20. BERNIE DEKOVEN “Any victory, now that we know what it is we want to create together, is shared. No matter who wins a game, if we have played well together, we have accomplished what we set out to do. The victory is not determined by who wins, nor what game we play, but rather by the quality of playing that we have been able to create together.” I X D P L A Y C H E L S E A H O W E 20
    21. 21. BERNIE DEKOVEN “How did it happen that I ever allowed myself to believe that winning the game was a more meaningful victory than my enjoyment of how we were playing together?” I X D P L A Y C H E L S E A H O W E 21
    22. 22. I X D P L A Y C H E L S E A H O W E 22 WHAT IS PLAY?
    23. 23. BERNIE DEKOVEN “Play is the enactment of anything that is not for real. Play is intended to be without consequence. We can play fight, and nobody gets hurt. We can play, in fact, with anything – ideas, emotions, challenges, principles. We can play with fear, getting as close as possible to sheer terror, without ever being really afraid. We can play with being other than we are – being famous, being mean, being a role, being a world.” I X D P L A Y C H E L S E A H O W E 23
    24. 24. ROGER CAILLOIS “All play presupposes the temporary acceptance, if not of an illusion (indeed this last word means nothing less than beginning a game: in-lusio) then at least of a closed, conventional, and, in certain respects, imaginary universe.” I X D P L A Y C H E L S E A H O W E 24
    25. 25. STUART BROWN “Play is done without purpose; if the purpose is more important, it’s not play” I X D P L A Y C H E L S E A H O W E 25

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