thebookofgamesPlayground Proposal by Isamu Noguchi (excerpt from The Book of Games)

First of all, I apologize for this absence, I am hoping to engage with interesting series of article soon but, in order to start the year in a good way, here is a short one about a book I have been very happy to prepare a small contribution for recently.

The Book of Games is the third issue of a series of books edited by Cristian Valenzuela Pinto. The first one was the Book of Towers and the second one, the Book of Mazes. Far from academic volumes, those books are compiling texts that are as short as insightful about the chosen theme. The very titles of these books start to give a clue about the author we can see in filigree of this series, both in its format and in its content: Jorge Luis Borges. Indeed, the Argentinean author’s way of writing about philosophical problems through narrative is found everywhere here, even in the ageless graphic design of those books.

In the Book of Games, Cristian is interested in the rules and, more importantly, their transgression as the very first chapter beautifully points out through its description of the biblical Garden of Eden:

The first game, the first rule, the first transgression.

The creation of a garden in Eden and its minimal architecture (a fence), established a field of action where the world of men was allowed. In the middle of this garden, a tree possessed the only exception and therefore the only rule.

Breaking the rule was the first condition to begin the game.

This transgression when transformed the fenced garden in Reality and with it, the promise of eternity the certainty of death.

Some games seek to revert this condition, others, only seek to reinforce it.

Another text written by Cristian is appalling for its subtle description of an apparatus that “gets rid of [his] subject” in order for the latter to be “freely suspended into nothingness”. Here again, the metaphor is superb and assumed in its title: Game of emancipation.

  1.  The subject seats on a rectangular base.
  2.  This base hangs on a pair of chains.
  3.  The chains in turn are fixed to a structure.
  4.  The subject must balance himself out of this system (base-chains-structure) until he attains the desired momentum.
  5. The system gets rid of the subject (or the other way around) and for a brief moment, he is freely suspended into nothingness

This apparatus is a swing, of course and the photo to illustrate the text is as humorous as dramatic and perfectly appropriate to illustrate this state of suspension of the body.

To continue the reading, you can consult the book online by following this link.