Play­ing in Place Nowhere: Cre­at­ing an Open Source Coun­try


Session Title:

  • Mind the Gap

Presentation Title:

  • Play­ing in Place Nowhere: Cre­at­ing an Open Source Coun­try




  • Panel: Mind the Gap

    Tra­di­tional and new media tech­nolo­gies allow for a re­fram­ing of cul­tural con­structs through play. Play and games pro­vide in­sight and ex­pose cul­ture. Though the two are not nec­es­sar­ily syn­ony­mous, both play and games func­tion in re­la­tion to an un­der­stood con­text and set of rules. In this paper we will in­ves­ti­gate the con­cept of a dig­i­tal coun­try through an analy­sis of our cur­rent pro­ject, Lokönenie, as well as con­sider how artists and de­sign­ers his­tor­i­cally have en­listed strate­gies of play and games to en­gage in a crit­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion of bor­ders, map­ping and tech­nolo­gies of rep­re­sen­ta­tion.  Through prac­tice-based re­search in­volv­ing the com­bi­na­tion of per­for­mance art and game de­sign, we fol­low in the ge­neal­ogy of DADA, Fluxus, Sur­re­al­ists, and the Sit­u­a­tion­ists. We cre­ate play­ful ex­pe­ri­ences that ad­dress the in­ter­sec­tion of art, site and dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies through per­for­ma­tive in­ter­ven­tions and web­space. Our cur­rent pro­ject, Loköneine, ques­tions the mean­ing of na­tion­al­ity, na­tion­hood and iden­tity. Lokönenie is a portable and con­cep­tu­ally open source coun­try whose only fixed lo­ca­tion is an IP address.?

    The name means “place nowhere,” and high­lights the tran­si­tory, dis­lo­cated na­ture of our coun­try as well as our de­sire to pro­mote a mo­bile, dig­i­tal coun­try that has no ge­o­graph­i­cal, cul­tural or lan­guage bar­ri­ers. The work is ac­ti­vated in the real world and lives in the dig­i­tal where dis­parate lo­ca­tions can be­come con­nected in web space. In ad­di­tion to our own pro­ject, we will dis­cuss the work of the Cen­ter for Land Use In­ter­pre­ta­tion, the In­sti­tute for Ap­plied Au­ton­omy, and Rafael Fa­jardo, as ex­am­ples of artists and artist groups em­ploy­ing strate­gies of crit­i­cal play and the re­vi­sion­ing of place. Through­out this paper we will argue that per­for­ma­tiv­ity is es­sen­tial to un­der­stand­ing and ac­ces­si­bil­ity. As Allan Kaprow said, “As a four-let­ter word in a so­ci­ety given to games, play does what all dirty words do: it strips bare the myth of cul­ture by its artists”.

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