“Fun is not only the delight in success but also the panic of uncertainty, the agony of failure. It arises when figure and ground swap places and surprise us. The familiar turns strange; we no longer grasp it fully. There facing the world’s stark truth, we either throw up our hands in disgust or dread – or we persists and discover something new.”Ian Bogost, ‘Play Anything’
2020 will be remembered as a year of great uncertainty and challenges, possible only to overcome through collective and unconventional (inter)action. Physical distancing and the use of flat online communication tools have stripped interaction of ‘messy’, visceral, nuanced, and unpredictable aspects, removing potentials of play and serendipity in finding ways forward. A response to challenges posed by remote interaction, The Playground creates a hybrid world, physical and digital, playful and serious, critical and affirmative. Seemingly arbitrary constraints form a rigorous framework for experimentation. The designers’ shared identity ‘The Monads’ forgoes a solely top-down role and, in design process and gameplay, integrate their collaboration as performances, music, poetry, and a co-produced costume. As their avatar the designers are the interface between physical and virtual. The Playground invites players to embark on an evolving journey that re-evaluates social interaction and notions of shared space. It questions what it means to be together when physically not co-located to, over time and collectively, construct a shared environment through messy, unpredictable interaction. This is no diversion, but a profound act of fun as a way of operating to engender change.
“The glitch is an activist prayer”Legacy Russell, ‘Glitch Feminism’
Learn more about The Playground at wearethemonads.com