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"GAMES" by Creative Performance Lab

Conservatorium van Amsterdam

"GAMES" by Creative Performance Lab students of the Conservatorium van Amsterdam (CvA), and Gerard Staebler & Kunsu Shim

Playing is an essential activity of humankind. Without games, we are nothing but mules, forever pulling a rope with heavy stones. But the games in this workshop are not those of today, in which the “players" stare at screens, killing time through senseless entertainment. Today’s computer games are an occupation far removed from proper playing. They lack – as exemplified by the following Buddhist story – true interaction between the players and the game that is played: a chiseller, while crafting a Buddha statue, says: “Through me, you become a Buddha, and through you, I become a Buddha”. This story thus speaks of a purposeless activity (since “becoming Buddha” is not a purpose in an ordinary sense). The “GAMES” which are at the heart of the workshop leading up to this performance represent exactly this idea of playing; another use of things; and the game itself.

In the 1960s, a number of artists started the Fluxus movement. They played under the terms of Performance, Happening, Concept art, amongst others. They played like children, with stones along a stream, climbing up an appletree, picking and biting unripe apples, playfully throwing them into the air – forgetting about the world, without fears or worries, without duties, and far removed from societal and political judgement and manipulation. While doing so, they were free, and yet connected with the world. Today, art has generally become a means to an end. The purpose of all things in this world is pre-determined. Things are called consumer goods, and human action is inseparably connected with the ability to obtain and consume them. Things also serve to obtain power. They define and dominate us. Their power seizes the ability to play.

The “GAMES” workshop of the Conservatorium van Amsterdam’s Creative Performance Lab, with a final performance at ICK's Space for Dance Art, is centered, in an open and hands-on forum, around artistic and “purposeless” activity. The rules are determined by us all. ( Gerard Staebler & Kunsu Shim )