[-empyre-] "Chindogu" and re-design

Kevin Hamilton kham at uiuc.edu
Sat Nov 28 03:04:19 EST 2009

Thanks, Ricardo and all. I'm very happy to learn of the old CAE  
project - I'd never come across that one! - and I'm also provoked by  
Margarete's introduction of the pataphysical here.

But my concerns, triggered by Machiko's mention of how Chindogu have  
been received in interaction design programs, perhaps link with  
Trebor's thread, and the subjects of the recent conference.

That is - What is the function of the ludic in a system where desire,  
pleasure, and delight is wholly individuated (as compared to the  
collective function of non-modern/pre-modern festival/ritual)? More  
importantly, how is individual participation in the ludic structured  
by its mandatory, instrumental nature in the context of global  
commerce? Here are some places we could examine this concern:

- One might ask this question about how the more playful avant-gardes  
are incorporated (or not) into contemporary art education.

- Or we might look to the functions assigned the ludic/comedic "fools"  
of television entertainment within the manufacture of moralities and  
political narratives.

- The nineties saw a string of ludic interfaces in early net.art, yet  
many of these now read as cold as any reflexive, modernist  
compositional exercise.

- And what counts as ludic on the internet - today's memes and "most  
viewed" videos/animations - hardly reconstitute social relations in  
the ways dreamed of by the tricksters and shamans of avant-garde or  
carnival. Typically, the ludic memes of today's internet simply wear  
deeper the ruts of established demographic pathways. Today's DIY  
absurdist flash animation is tomorrow's paid art director.

I'm all for the ludic, and miss it greatly in my institutional  
contexts. I'm just looking for ways to provoke the ludic in ways as  
rich and deep as we see in the pre-modern history of human play.

Meanwhile, you'll find me at the diner counter with Zippy (my favorite  
pataphysician). On many days we're quite happy on our cultic  
demographic island, marveling at the arbitrariness of modern design  
and our roles within it.


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