April 27, 2006
Politics of Play
Moins d’Oeuvrs:
St. Ouen: Paris: France
4 hour workshop

Politics of Play, Paris was a condensed intensive version of our workshop. Below are some images and brief descriptions from the projects realized. If you would like a print-out documentation about this workshop, please download this pdf:

PoP_brochure.pdf (4.7MB)

Map of St. Ouen broken into 4 quadrants.   Map/Suitcase Preparation.
Politics within Play brainstorm.   Play within Politics Brainstorm.
Put your hand on the person you have known the longest. Isabelle Avres was the "sociometric star" of the group.
  Field Research :
With thematic suitcases, four groups disperse into the city for one hour.
Here a team is interviewing a group of school kids about the rules they have.   Collecting votes from people on locally related issues.
If people had the money, they would move away to a greener and more peaceful part of the country.
“No Posters allowed here since 7.29.1887"


Game 1: Neighborhood Graffiti Award
This game was inspired by a small, pedestrian friendly intersection. This particular area of St. Ouen is a popular place for graffiti and political stencils. The idea for the game was to get people in the neighborhood to collaborate, meet and generate a critical view of one particulare aspect of the neighborhood/community. For this particular workshop, Neighborhood Graffiti Award was created as such a platform.

Location:(street names)
Rue de Bons Enfant/Rue Louis Dain

Group Members: Ai Hasegawa, London, Ari Nykanen, Helsinki, Daniel Boursin, Paris,Marie Petit, Paris, Anthony Masure, Paris,Paul Pichard, Paris

How to Play:
People in one neighborhood gather to create a “Graffiti Award”. A jury of 5-10 people made up of local residents volunteer themselves. The jury creates criteria for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place prizes:

1st prize Criteria:
-More than 3 letters
-more than 3 colors (including blue)
-High as possible/ over the belt
  2nd prize Criteria:
-Only 2 letters,
-one character/drawing/figure
-2 colors (including red)
  3rd prize Criteria:
-Low as possible (not on the street)
-one color + yellow
1st prize   2nd prize   3rd prize

-A judge is elected.
-Teams go out with prize ribbons and have 20 minutes to find the graffiti with matching criteria.
-Each team must document the graffiti to prove that it matches the winning criteria.
-Each team must present their photos to the judge to prove that they meet the criteria.
-There is a starting point chosen with a starting line/ribbon. The ribbon is cut as a ceremony and tribute
-To the neighborhood becoming a cultural territory defined by the community.
-A finish line is constructed and the first team to finish must cross the finish line as a sort of ceremony.

How many players?
2-10 per team
5 teams

Type of game: team, competitive, adventure…
Participatory game for residents of the area

What do people need to play the game: pieces, board, architiecture…
-Prizes; 1st, 2nd, 3rd,
-Graffiti or street art (this game could be applied to many things; planter boxes, front doors, houses etc. anything that people could vote on aesthetically or in terms of craft.
The residents would define the criteria for the game and prizes.
-Prize tags or ribbons
-Criteria for prizes
-Finish line for winners to cross when they have finished posting their prizes

Jury to create criteria
Audience: passerby, friends of judges, residents

What are the political aspects of the game?
Democracy: Giving voice to the people of the neighborhood
Flipping reality: Graffiti is looked at as ugly, illegal, garbage, but this game quantifies it into distinguishable elements: color, characters, placement giving it new meaning and value in the medium of game.

What was the motivation to make this particular game in this particular place?
-The amount of graffiti in the area.
-To create a spectacle (the game/ people running in the streets taggin graffiti with prize ribbons)
In a calm area. This area is very quiet from Tuesday-Friday because the flea markets are closed so this activity would cause a reason for people to be out in the streets and involved in a social activity.
-To bring people to the streets
-Give voice to the residents

What game were you inspired by or used as a model. Please explain:

-The Oscars
-State Fairs: The prizes for best cow, pig…
-D-Day Exhibition at Georges Pompideu Center Nov. 2005 Motorola Project
-Finish Art Project: Tuhru.org:
2 frame flip books on wall
100;s of them just two pieces of paper people can flip open and closed to see two frame animation.
Interactive installation
There are blank flip books on the wall for people to create their own, so it is dynamic
And evolving over time.

Who does the project benefit?
Graffiti writers
Neighborhood: fosters interaction between neighbors and a platform to discuss
The graffiti and to reflect on it or see it in a different light.

Who is it for (audience)?
Residents in the neighborhood

What aspect of "community" does it address?
Neighborhood/ Neighbors

How could technology be incorporated in this piece?.
Cell phones could be used to send the photo’s to the judge. This could add a real time judging element
To the game. Teams could send images to each other. Software could be developed to keep score
So that players know where they stand in the cometition.
-Gps devices could be used to make the location of prize winning graffiti. It could be documented this
way and mapped. This could make the project less time specific and more of a dynamic archive or public
voting game.

Other Thoughts: (things you learned, unexpected outcomes…)

The game made people look at graffiti in a different way.
The criteria forced one to look at graffiti in terms of elements; color, form, and placement.

References: (urls, projects, books)
Finish Art Project: A wall of post-its. Each post it had two sheets with one drawing on each, forming a 2-frame animation. The animation could be viewed if you quickly opened and closed the top paper from the bottome paper. Very simple and interactive. Many blank post-it's were on the wall for visitors to create their own animations.
Tuhru Blog

Vandal Squad:

Hand held game:
Bar Code Battler

Commerce Conflict.
A game where you scan a bar code and it becomes a character.
You can use pre existing Bar Code Battler cards or cut bar codes off cigarettes, gum or whatever to create new characters.


Game 2: Plot Cast
Plot Casting was inspired by interviewing peole about their desires for the neighborhood. Many people wanted more trees and would like to remove urban furniture and replace them with trees or plants. One gardener wanted to do "flower terrorism".

Location:(street names)
Rue Blanqui, Rue des Rosiers, Rue Pierre Curie

Group Members: Eric, Isabelle, Annakarina, Blaize

How to Play:
People are divided into two color coded teams (here green and pink). Each team has a bunch of small flags, saying "plant a tree here" or "plant a flower here". Starting from a base field, the team members spread out and try to place their flags as quickly as possible around the area where plants could grow. One flag should be at least 10 meters away from the next and only put where no plants are growing yet. The team wins, who spread all the flags first and returns to the base plot.

The players are divided into two groups, to distribute the flags in in the neighborhood.
  The group that has planted all the flags first is the winner.
The flags prompt passersby to plant flowers or trees at the indicated spots.    
How many players?
No limit

Type of game: team, competitive, adventure…
Participatory game for residents of the area

What do people need to play the game:
-pieces, board, architecture…
-Materials to make flags.

Recruitment (getting people to play)
Referee ( to say "start" and determine winner)

Making the need for green spaces visible, environmental concerns. Teams acting like wind spreading seeds- distributive computing.

The idea was inspired by a gardener from St. Ouen who wanted to do "flower terrorism". Giving the game a competitive, speed-based character which reminds of aggressive competition in economy to be first and faster than the competitors.

Who does the project benefit?
Local people (beauty, air quality)and for visitors (it makes it more attractive). Animals.

Who is it for (audience)?
Residents in the neighborhood

What aspect of "community" does it address?
The planted flags communicate to the people, and can bring up a conversation, make the need visible to locals and local politicians. A movement can emerge that makes people plant together, like a demonstration through planting.

Take pictures as documentation, map with GPS the places where people want to have green and that could become plots. This map could also be sent to the mayor of St. Ouen.

Other Thoughts: (things you learned, unexpected outcomes…)
There is really a lack of green spaces in St. Ouen that people would really want to leave the area for that reason.

It was also surprising that people were afraid when we started talking to them and asking them questions.

References: (urls, projects, books)
Noderunners, C-Theory, Pac Manhattan, Paul Ardenne, Yuri Gitman, Carlos Gomez de Llarena, The Yes Men