PLAYING THE ART GAME

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We may find an interesting explanation through turning once again to Eric Berne, and his game analysis. As we’ve touched upon, game analysis was developed in order to allow us to examine and comment upon many of the everyday social scenarios that we find ourselves in. Berne proposed that many human interactions are ‘games’: action that seems to be doing one thing on the surface, whilst doing another beneath surface level – as he puts it, action based on ulterior transactions. We suggested that games are often used as a form of static motion - a way of appearing to do something, or go somewhere, whilst staying static. The attraction of games lies in their ability to structure time (and hold off the bewildering possibilities of the universe), to maintain the status quo (action without action) and to delay transcendence (and therefore avoid what Berne calls ‘real living’ and ‘real intimacy’).

Is it possible, then, that Playing the City could be based on ulterior transactions; could it, in truth, be playing the art game? It speaks of radical intentions, and yet disarms its own threat through clothing itself in the robe of ‘art’, the robe given to it by the system. Like those who play many of the everyday games that Berne describes, Playing the City may have the best of intentions – consciously, those involved may fully believe in the radical intent of their actions – yet, unconsciously, they may not want to change anything.


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