Problems with an important word.

February 6, 2010

The word game, since the first post (a translation), seemed not to be the proper one. I’ve been wondering if it’s because of the situations we use it while speaking Portuguese, which generally refers to video games, and it often brings the idea of amusement – which is exactly what I’m running from. Dealing with this problem in English has been harder than I thought, but let’s keep moving.

Then I decided to try to elaborate my own definition of game, according to what I’m trying to say. Checked dictionary.com and it wasn’t very useful, but something very interesting showed up: “a single occasion of such an activity”. Let’s keep it, while I give you my second shot.

I don’t know how trustable this is, but I checked also an Online Etymology Dictionary (and it’s the name of it), the etymonline.com. The amusement came up again, but related to a Goth word, gaman, which is said to mean “‘participation, communion,’ from P.Gmc. *ga- collective prefix + *mann ‘person,’ giving a sense of ‘people together.'”

Here comes the hard part: putting the information together and trying to make some sense of it (in English). I don’t know if I got it right (I’m almost sure I didn’t), but the definition I quoted from dictionary.com seems quite coherent if we think of game as a proposer of occasions. Actually, not the proposer itself, but something that contains possibilities of occasions – of a certain activity. First step done, we now have something: game is something that contains possibilities of occasions. Sounds beautiful, but still too vague.

The etymologic analysis gives us a clue that it has something to do with relations. A game can’t happen by itself, or be developed (in time) by itself. Considering this, it can only happen related to something, or in relation with something. Actually, I believe a game relates things. It’s something that we use as a medium to achieve possibilities, or even better, to realize things we didn’t know.

Now we have something a little more elaborated. A game is something that is used as a medium to relate things and realize unknown possibilities.

By having this I think I can ask myself how it behaves as a medium, and I guess the answer is in the way it’s organized. Or we can think the game is the organization itself. If we think of the “classical” games, for example chess or soccer, there are generally rules which are the thing the gamer uses to create situations, or occasions, that is, the rules that a priori seem to create limitations reveal themselves, a posteriori, as a catalyzer of new previously unknown possibilities. The rules are the organization and this is what relates the things that involve it and makes new possibilities possible.

As a first trial, then, I think I have a definition of game that will be useful for the next discussions: a game is a kind of organization that is used as a medium to relate things and realize unknown possibilities.

The next step is thinking the dance as a game, and specify this kind of organization.

The situation.

January 10, 2010

This is a blog based on the Portuguese-written A Incerteza (and I believe The Uncertainty is a good approximation in English), which was born with a dance research supported by FID 2009 (Fórum Internacional de Dança).

Since language rised as a major problem on the writing act, due to Vilém Flusser’s book “Língua e realidade” (written by him, a czech, in the Portuguese language), I decided to expand this project and do this trial on transmission, translation and the different realities that come with the different languages (and other media). These questions are very close to the dance questions I’ve been thinking about and I’ll begin this with a translation of the first post of A Incerteza, titled A situação.

[This post will do for this blog to site this blog in the world and, mainly, make the questions of the author explicit, which will result on the next writings.]

“A Incerteza” (The Uncertainty) was a project that started with the suport of FID (Fórum Internacional de Dança) 2009, through the Programa Território Minas, a program that sponsors people who wish to make research on dance in the Minas Gerais state, in Brazil. This year [2009], me (Raul, the Uncertain) and Joana Wanner were the sponsored ones and presented the provisory result of the work on October 29th and 30th, at the Espaço Cultural Ambiente [Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil], in the schedule of FID 2009.

The investigations of The Uncertainty started from some different understandings on the idea of time, along the History of Science – specially the ones of Isaac Newton (17th century), the Thermodynamics (19th and 20h century, with Ilya Prigogine) and Albert Einstein (20th century). Starting with this, we were wondering how these different ideas could affect the choreographic environment (creation and execution), and got to the duality that would come with us along the whole project and remain beyond it: determinism (which, in the understanding of time means “predictable future” and “known past”) and non-determinism (where the possibility of the existence of the new, because of the existence of the chance). The study of music and video, media which, as the dance, have explicit the character of time succession, proved itself a huge catalyst to the proposed investigation, being responsible to the creation of almost all the experiments.

After presenting the result of the first step of the research on FID 2009, the investigation of the game character in the experiments and the exploration of the errors as a possibility of the rising of the new remained as the strongest proposals, and these two points will be the most important ones to think of the questions in this continuity of the investigations.

The programatic philosophy of Vilém Flusser (Prague, 1920-1991) has had an enormous importance to the reflections and will be the subject to some posts that will come further. Relate it with the dance has been surprising to me, in the sense that it’s been more pertinent that I thought it could.

Well, here is my brief introduction to this blog, which intends to be much more reflexive than a register – and the explanation for this will come later.

Photo: Cuia Guimarães / FID 2009

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January 10, 2010

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