Tuesday, April 21, 2009
IVP3 Chrissy DiNicola
For my project I documented people playing my favorite board game, which is scrabble. I decided to add dramatic motion to the generally tame board game (by making my friend throw the scrabble board) in order to illustrate the competitive nature of many forms of "play." I wanted to create a piece that displays the anger games often ignite in people, because this reaction seems to contradict to the purpose of play.
I originally planned to document the game with video. However, I chose to use a series of still photographs played quickly because I thought this would create a nice parallel between my medium and my content. Like a scrabble board, photographs are not usually in motion. My project is silent to make it seem like a flip-book, emphasizing the fact that it is a series of still pictures changing rapidly.
The longer version of the video shows one player play all seven of her letters (a rare success). Another player looks at the score, becomes incensed, throws the game board, and walks out of the room. The sequence of photos in which the player throws the game board and walks out is then played backwards until its beginning. After this, there is a slight but noticeable shift in the photos, and the three players clean up the board in a civil way as they normally would. The reversing of the game throwing sequence shows that it was only a fantasy of the angry player. The shift in photos that occurs just before the players begin to clean up the board game illustrates a return to reality.
Most of the photographs play for .5 seconds, but the pictures in which the player is throwing the board game are on screen for a considerably longer period of time because these were the most interesting, time-worthy photographs. Dwelling on the pictures where the scrabble board and letters are airborne, my video addresses the fact that their is a certain beauty and excitement in succumbing to irrational passion. The monotony of the quickly shown photographs in which players follow both game and social rules is meant to show the contrast between fantasy and reality and to demonstrate the fact that anger, stress, and competitiveness are often internalized or repressed during play.
I included a sequence of "blooper" photographs that show the natural reactions of the players when the angry player first tried to throw the board. She threw it too hard and it fell on her head. I thought this sequence of photographs was valuable and entertaining because it unintentionally showed a different kind of play in which people enjoy being shocked by something unexpected. The blooper photos contrast the performance photos, displaying a spontaneous form of play that lacks competition, a form of play that seems most true to "play's" definition as something for amusement, fun, and recreation. The blooper photographs also demonstrate the powerful ability of flip-book style artwork to dwell on details, by freezing them, that don't stand out in film.