Sabado, Marso 17, 2012

Magic (or Rousseau)

In order to play one needs magic and Rousseau and must remember play. Sometimes magic is the obscurest impostor in play. An obscure rational pattern imposes the word magic on Rousseau.
Now remember play has nothing to do with that Rousseauian freedom found in refusal.
Refusal, more than anything else, ends play.
And so we might play a game called the conjuring of Rousseau. It might go like this: let’s pretend that Jean Jacques Rousseau is the pawn in our game. On one side of the Board is Society., On the other side of the Board is solitude. We can each pick a goal. One of us tries to force Rousseau into society, the other tries to land him in solitude. Whoever gets the pawn to the goal wins. Let’s say Rousseau is walking along a Boulevard in silent reverie. The Board, by the way, is made up out of parks and Boulevards. So when Rousseau ‘advances’ he is always being advanced by way of a park or a boulevard. Sometimes a player will draw a card that says, ‘What do you want, Jean-Jacques Rousseau?’ If the spinner lands on I would like to go home, then the pawn is returned to the beginning and Rousseau sets out again from the starting spot. If the spinner lands on I would like to do someone a favor, the token is advanced along a park or boulevard in the direction of society. If the spinner lands on I would like to tell the truth,the player gets to spin again until he gets something he likes; since truth is bound to both solitude and society, this move becomes a matter of preference. In the center of the Board is a personage with great powers: she is a witch. If Jean Jacques lands on her spot it is because she has called him up. She calls him up, because his travels fascinate her. Now, this is extremely problematic. If Rousseau realizes that she has called him up, then he sees himself as a ghost. The player has a choice at this point, to get out of or stay in the ghost-game. If it is decided to stay in the ghost-game, Rousseau is provided with a series of options that he never recognized when he was alive. He can, for instance, opt to infiltrate society without being noticed. He can observe those who outlived him. He could, if he were on the ladder to revenge, scare them to death. They could become equals in death. Or he could live with the witch, who loves to make good on her resources. This he admires enormously; although, she does not quite consider him her equal. With her, his solitude is indeed complete: since no one in the game is aware of her existence.

by Carla Harryman

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