Introduction from Tim Wright. Tim wants to go to the moon to play golf with David Bowie. Today he wants to plan the mission. "We may need to simulate David Bowie in some way".
We're here to talk about other types of play.
Pat Kane takes the podium. Pat has written a book called "Play Ethic: A manifesto for a different way of living". "There's been a playful response to capitalist industrial change for quite some time". We're moving beyond the work ethic as a society; the values that sustained consumerism were puritan ones: work is worth doing because it integrates you into society.
What are the themes of a post-worth-ethic, quality-of-life society? Play, idleness, slowness, softness. This talk has a happy-clappy neo-Californian feel to it. Pat discovered that play is a weird human behaviour. Play is "adaptive potentiation" (William Sutton-Smith). i.e. as complex mammals, we need to rehearse our relationships with other creatures.
3 "ancient rhetorics of play": play as power (contests), play as community (being social: festivals, carnivals, symbolic rituals), play as "feint or chaos" (the idea that we are "the sport of the gods". These ancient forms of play aren't that free - there's an element of coercion to them.
It's more complex than "are video games good or bad".
Pat's been obsessing about the dark side of play and games. He now thinks an ethics of play is vital: playing games makes the world less stable, more open, less predictable, more risky. e.g. Rumsfeld, Cheney using the language of games to articulate their positions: "it's about changing the rules of the game". Look at game theory - early articulaters were cold war theorists.
We have entire publishing industries devoted to organised play: it's sport.
"Surveillance as well as sousveillance".