Culture arises and unfolds in and as play, ...
culture itself bears the character of play.
Play is the highest form of research.
Play is a state of mind rather than an activity.
Since all of culture and science are based on various forms of play, it behooves us to reexamine our negative
attitudes towards this subject. Unfortunately, we are still very much victims of a culture that stigmatized play as superfluous, infantile and frivolous, a leftover of the puritan work ethic. It is the objective of PlayArt to adjust these erroneous attitudes, thereby liberating creativity and the joy of life.
Play is also often deemed too trivial and unworthy to be a subject of art. Obviously we are dealing with another outmoded misconception. Consider the art of the Middle Ages, when religious subjects alone were worthy of depiction. Secular subjects, which are the norm today, were taboo at that time. We call this progressive liberalization from old taboos the “secularization of art,” and PlayArt is simply a continuation of this process.
For many years, artists have been dissatisfied with the distance that exists between museum pieces and the
viewer. PlayArt is the inevitable solution to that problem.
Collection of Quotations (170)
Throughout history many prominent thinkers have defended the cultural, spiritual and practical significance of play against prevailing negative attitudes. Yet curiously, society at large remains at odds with these ideas. PlayArt, we hope, is destined to shift those attitudes in a more positive direction. What follows is a selection of relevant quotations by distinguished authors, philosophers, scientists and artists.
Play and Life
Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play.
Life must be lived as play, playing certain games, singing and dancing.
Man plays only when he is in the full sense of the word a man,
and he is only wholly Man when he is playing.
In the true man there is a child concealed who wants to play.
As people grow up, they cease to play,
and they seem to give up the yield of pleasure,
which they gain from playing.
We do not stop playing because we are old;
we grow old because we stop playing.
George Bernard Shaw
What we play is life.
To be playful is not to be trivial or frivolous,
or to act as though nothing of consequence will happen.
James P. Carse
Man's most serious activity is play.
People tend to forget that play is serious.
Intellectual play, like play of childhood, is serious business.
Kay Redfield Jamison
To be playful and serious at the same time is possible,
in fact it defines the ideal mental condition.
Play is a serious matter:
in playing we perceive and learn probingly to comprehend.
If we play, discovery and invention will be our joyful companions.
In our rapidly changing culture,
adults probably require play as much as children do
in order to cope with and adapt to these incessant qualitative changes.
In our play we reveal what kind of people we are.
You can discover more about a person in an hour of play
than in a year of conversation.
Life has only one real charm, which is play.
Animals have a play instinct that seems to alternate with their survival instincts.
Only when survival is taken care of is there room for play.
Play. It is an activity which proceeds within certain limits of time and space, in a visible order, according to rules freely accepted, and outside the sphere of necessity or material utility. The play-mood is one of rapture and enthusiasm, and is sacred or festive in accordance with the occasion. A feeling of exaltation and tension accompanies the action.
The thinkers one likes most are very playful.
For humans, play is a refuge from ordinary life, a sanctuary of the mind,
where one is exempt from life’s customs, methods, and decrees.
The secret of success in many human activities is to see them as play.
Without play – without the child that still lives in all of us –we will always be incomplete. And not only physically, but creatively, intellectually, and spiritually as well.
Play is the exultation of the possible.
We must encourage what is best – and what is most human within ourselves.
I believe that one of the most effective ways to foster that special part of us is through play.
We are never more human than at play,
and no activity is so human as play.
Deep meaning lies often in childish play.
When childhood dies, its corpses are called adults.
Play and a playful mindset create joy and enthusiasm,
without which all arts and sciences would be empty.
Play keeps us vital and alive.
It gives us an enthusiasm for life that is irreplaceable.
Without it, life just doesn’t taste good.
When you are playful, you are activating the right side of your brain.
The logical brain is a limited brain.
The right side is unlimited.
You can be anything you want.
Is it any wonder that often the times we feel most alive,
those that make up our best memories, are moments of play?
Play and Happiness
The ability to play is critical not only to being happy,
but also to sustaining social relationships and being a creative,
The beneficial effects of getting just a little true play can spread through our lives,
actually making us more productive and happier in everything we do.
Play and happiness are one and the same, because they have the very same source.
That source is a state of mind that can be both lost and found again.
It should be pretty obvious that the animating spark of play
is the fast track to happiness.
Play and Work
Exercise that is work is worthless.
But exercise that is play will give you health and long life.
Parents should play much more with their children.
Because people who can't play can't be much good at their work either.
Play, you see, can be more difficult than work,
and no easy task for an adult.
We have forgotten how to play –
getting our idea of play mixed up with competitiveness and passive enjoyment.
To the art of working well
a civilized race would add the art of playing well.
That's part of what I want to do - make work play.
Any work can be conceived as play.
Work and play are words used to describe the same thing
under differing conditions.
The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.
Ironically, many professional athletes aren’t really playing, but working.
Sport is not an escape from the world of work - but rather an exact structural and functional parallel...
It seduces the luckless athlete and spectator into a second world of work
more authoritarian and repressive and less meaningful.
We can scarcely conceive of minds more serious than Leonardo and Michelangelo.
And yet the whole mental attitude of the Renaissance was one of play...
The 19th century (the Industrial Revolution) seems to leave little room for play.
Work and production became the ideal, and then the idol, of the age.
The great Leonardo continued to play as a child throughout his adult life
thus baffling his contemporaries.
The expenditure of physical and psychic energy and the commitment given to play are extraordinary,
even if no-one is bothered by this effort as one would be were the same energy devoted to work.
The opposite of play is not work. It's depression.
Play is emerging from the shadows of frivolousness and assuming a place in the spotlight.
Homo Ludens (Man the Player) is proving to be as effective as Homo Sapiens (Man the Knower)
in getting the job done.
More than fifty European companies –
including less-than-zany firms such as Nokia, Daimler-Chrysler, and Alcatel –
have brought in consultants in "Serious Play,"
a technique that uses Lego blocks to train corporate executives.
Play and Freedom
Play reveals the great freedom of the spirit.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Play possesses a quality of freedom denied in everyday life.
One will only be free when one plays
and one's society will become a piece of art.
We play gladly and think gladly because in these activities we feel ourselves masters of the situation: The space of play and the space of thought are the two theaters of freedom.
Suppressing the play instinct encourages frustration,
resentment and twisted interests and can transmute into violent demands for freedom.
Art and play have as their hallmark freedom of choice, and that includes choosing new ways to use familiar materials and ideas.
Play and Culture
For many years the conviction has grown upon me that civilization arises and unfolds in and as play...
Culture itself bears the character of play.
Every element of the human stage requires play.
We evolved through play.
Our culture thrives on play.
Courtship includes high theater, rituals, and ceremonies of play.
Ideas are playful reverberations of the mind.
Language is a playing with words until they can impersonate physical objects and abstract ideas.
A play is called a play for a very important reason-
a play is play.
The Paleolithic hunters who painted the unsurpassed animal murals
on the ceiling of the cave at Altamira had only rudimentary tools.
Art is older than production for use, and play older than work.
Man was shaped less by what he had to do than by what he did in playful moments.
It is the child in man that is the source of his uniqueness and creativeness,
and the playground is the optimal milieu for the unfolding of his capacities.
All creative work is actually play,
but we don’t talk about it.
Play is a part of all cultures.
Man seems to use it to put himself and his limits to the test.
In the museum world, the new type of activity-generating exhibit is extremely popular.
The activity is in essence play, yet we call it anything but play.
We use expressions such as interactive, hands-on, participatory and experiential.
Such systematic avoidance is a sure sign of a negative attitude towards play,
an insidious malaise that is pervasive in our culture.
Life without play is a life without books,
without movies, art, music, jokes, dramatic stories.
Play and Art
Art is nothing other than the free play of the human spirit.
To keep one's art young, one must imitate young animals.
What do they do? They play.
Every child is an artist.
The problem is how to remain an artist after he grows up.
Collaboration doesn't just happen because you want it to.
It is a magic gift and it was inscribed in our destinies.
We were helped by our love of play and by the very opposition of our two artistic worlds.
Niki de Saint-Phalle
(about her collaboration with Jean Tinguely)
It is one of the primary motives of modern art that it wants to abolish the distance
which the viewer, the consumer, the audience maintain vis-à-vis a work of art.
There is no doubt that the leaders of the creative artists of the last 50 years
concentrated their efforts mainly on eliminating that distance.
I'm in favor of an art that does something other
than just sit on its ass in a museum.
Play is the key to my work.
Art, predicated on the play impulse,
lies beyond necessity in the realm of possibility.
The relationship of art and play: play is art – consequently I play furiously.
Play is one of the foundations of art. I did a series of air current wheels just for the fun of it, without thinking about art, and one day while looking at them they became art.
1.Everything that makes life worthwhile is connected to play. It is one of the supreme joys of life.
2. Vivid colors are an expression of the joy of life; so play and color go hand in hand.
3. Who says that play and color belong to the world of the child?
Today’s youth are probably more interested than ever in participating in cultural experiences,
more attuned to the idea that an aesthetic event can be –
maybe even should be – a two-way street.
The whole point of Camp is to dethrone the serious.
Camp is playful, anti-serious.
When the artist and sculptors I know work, there’s a sort of free-play idea.
You try things; you experiment.
It is kind of naïve and childish, it’s like kids in a playpen.
What is more important to him: To transform toys into art,
or to render art itself into a big plaything?
Douglas Haskell (about Calder)
Play and Dada
It is undeniable that the pioneers of the Dada movement and,
perhaps more than anyone else,
Marcel Duchamp succeeded in introducing the notion of play
into the activity of the avant-garde in no uncertain fashion.
In 1913, I had the happy idea to fasten a bicycle wheel to a kitchen stool
and watch it turn.
To set the wheel turning was very soothing, very comforting,
a sort of opening of avenues on other things than material life of every day.
I liked the idea of having a bicycle wheel in my studio.
(With these words he identifies exactly the fundamental difference between the play mode and the mode of ordinary life.)
Dadaists are anti-masses,
because mass culture destroys the play instinct and creativity.
Richard Huelsenbeck (a founder of Dada)
The middle class does not play.
Movement in the center of the herd is limited;
play is squeezed out.
Joel Lee Coleman
Dada was an experiment in play which rewrote the philosophy of Kant, Schiller, and Nietzsche;
the aesthetics of Wilde, Kandinsky, and Baudelaire;
and the mysticism of the Buddha, Kabbalah, Brahmana, and Tao.
Joel Lee Coleman
In a time of war,
Dada lauded play as the most cherished human activity.
Zürich Dada was a true attempt to fulfill Nietzsche’s admonition to live artistically,
that is with play as the highest priority.
Joel Lee Coleman
While critics have always emphasized the playful elements of Dadaism –
the child, the trickster, the game of chance, wordplay –
they have shied away from naming them playful as such.
Joel Lee Coleman
Play and Creativity
In every man there is a hidden child which is called the urge to create
and he prefers as play things and serious things not the miniature ships,
recreated in the minutest detail,
but the walnut shell with a bird feather as mast
and sail and a pebble as the captain.
He also wants to be able to participate and to co-create in art,
rather than being simply an admiring viewer.
For this "child in man" is the immortal creator within him.
Combinatory play seems to be
the essential feature in productive thought.
Exuberant play creates a more energized and enriched environment
in which to imagine, discover, and make connections.
Kay Redfield Jamison
To stimulate creativity, one must develop the childlike inclination for play and the childlike desire for recognition.
Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent and independent
with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.
Humanity has advanced, when it has advanced,
not because it has been sober, responsible, and cautious,
but because it has been playful, rebellious, and immature.
The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect
but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity.
The creative mind plays with objects it loves.
Carl Gustav Jung
Creative work is play.
It is free speculation using materials of one's chosen form.
(Talking about his first computer) Like all kids we not only fooled around with our toys, we changed them. If you’ve ever watched a child with a cardboard carton and a box of crayons create a spaceship with cool control panels, or listened to their improvised rules, such as “Red cars can jump all others,” then you know that this impulse to make a toy do more is at the heart of innovative childhood play. It is also the essence of creativity.
The dynamic principle of fantasy is play, which belongs also to the child,
and as such it appears to be inconsistent with the principle of serious work.
But without this playing with fantasy no creative work has ever yet come to birth.
The debt we owe to the play of imagination is incalculable.
Carl Gustav Jung
It is this vaulting capacity of the imagination in play that is one of the most valuable traits of the human species.
It is this sort of play of the imagination, the challenge to "take a giant leap,"
that has been responsible for much of the invention and discovery,
the great ideas that have benefited humanity.
Necessity may be the mother of invention,
but play is certainly the father.
Roger von Oech
Almost all creativity involves purposeful play.
Our endangered planet has caused many of us to become
environmentalists, conservationists, ecologists and global activists.
But one crucial factor is still ominously missing:
we also need to become "creativists".
Progressive industrialization demands action without error. This prevents the innate playful creativity of humans.
Club of Rome
Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes.
Art is knowing which ones to keep.
Playing and giving are closely related;
they are the behavioral and transactional facets of the same impulse, the play-instinct.
They share an aristocratic disdain for results.
The player gets something out of playing; that's why he plays.
But the core reward is the experience.
There are certain things that our age needs.
It needs, above all, courageous hope and the impulse to creativeness.
A healthy child's play also has the essential features of encounter,
and we know it is one of the important prototypes of adult creativity.
If you want to be creative, stay in part a child,
with the creativity and invention that characterizes children
before they are deformed by adult society.
Every Child is in a way a genius,
and every genius is in a way a child.
Creativity represents a miraculous coming together
of the uninhibited energy of the child
with its apparent opposite and enemy,
the sense of order imposed on the disciplined adult intelligence.
Creativity is about play and a kind of willingness to go with your intuition.
It’s crucial to an artist.
If you know where you are going and what you are going to do, why do it?
I think I learned that from the artists, from my grandmother,
from all the creative people I’ve spent time with over the years.
If we have given up our ability to play,
we will have lost the cutting edge of our creativity.
Many discoveries are happy accidents of play.
Play and creating are often indistinguishable from each other.
Playing involves a childlike joy in the endeavor at hand,
irreverence for conventional procedure, purpose,
and the “rules of the game.”
Playfully challenging the limitations of science, an art, or a technology
just to see what happens is one of the most common ways
in which novel ideas are born.
Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein
Play and Science
All scientific knowledge to which man owes his role as master
of the world arose from playful activities.
The creative processes of inventors, scientists, and artists
often bear striking similarities,
including the manipulation of the physical world through play.
The point is that playing with ideas is extremely exhilarating.
Not only philosophy but the emergence of new scientific ideas
is fueled by the enjoyment one obtains
from creating a new way to describe reality.
Nature rewards the enthusiastic and curious with excitement in the chase and the thrill of discovery,
rewards the intellectually playful with the exuberant pleasures of play.
Exuberance in science drives exploration and sustains the quest;
it brings its own Champagne to the discovery.
Kay Redfield Jamison
A great deal of my work is just playing with equations and seeing what they give.
The combination of curiosity and joy so characteristic of scientific work
calls to mind the galumphing quality of exuberant play:
watching, chasing an idea first up one path and then down another,
tussling with competitors, and flat-out exhilaration in the chase.
Creative science and play are fun;
they promise the unexpected.
Kay Redfield Jamison
Play and Learning
Whoever wants to understand much must play much.
The point is to develop the childlike inclination for play
and the childlike desire for recognition
and to guide the child over to important fields for society.
Such a school demands from the teacher
that he be a kind of artist in his province.
Without play, there would be no Picasso.
Without play, there is no experimentation.
Experimentation is the quest for answers.
Playing is experimentation with chance.
Friedrich Leopold Novalis
The essential of every invention is chance,
but most people are never met by this chance.
Playing with something means looking for the variant,
understanding what one has just done.
Play teaches children to master the world.
Play therapy has become the main avenue for helping young children with their emotional difficulties.
Play is the individual’s first experience of creativity.
This builds the constructive forces, social experience and wisdom needed throughout life.
This simple fundamental principle inherent in real play and creativity
is tremendously important and powerful.
Although this is recognized by many, it is rarely given scope to develop fully.
I hear and I forget,
I see and I remember,
I do and I understand.
Children explore their environment through play.
In this process, the brain physically grows new neural pathways.
Interestingly, the brain can continue this generation at any age.
Play and Healing
Those who play rarely become brittle in the face of stress or lose the healing capacity for humor.
Playing is such an important part of our healing process. Our spirit needs to frolic, so we can return to innocence.
Soo Young Lee
Play and the Universe
Play is a phenomenon of nature and it directed the course of the world
from the beginning of times:
the formation of matter, its organization into living structures
as well as the social behavior of man.
God is a comedian playing to an audience
too afraid to laugh.
Creativity is... seeing something that doesn't exist already.
You need to find out how you can bring it into being and that way be a playmate with God.
It is interesting that Hindus, when they speak of the creation of the universe, do not call it the work of God, they call it the play of God, the Vishnu-lila, lila meaning "play." And they look upon the whole manifestation of all the universes as a play, as a sport, as a kind of dance — lila perhaps being somewhat related to our word lilt.
I, God, am your playmate! I will lead the child in you in wonderful ways, for I have chosen you.
Mechthild of Magdeburg
Play is everywhere.
And I mean that literally –
play may operate at all levels,
from the smallest cellular interaction to the far reaches of the universe.
Play and Enlightenment
Life is a game.
In order to have a game
something has to be more important than something else.
If what already is,
is more important than what isn't, the game is over.
So life is a game in which what isn't,
is more important than what is.
Let the good times roll.
What isn't play of all our activities here on earth?
No matter how great or profound it may be!
We always play, and he who knows this is wise.
The only difference between a wise man and a fool
is that the wise man knows he's playing.
The transcendental state of enlightenment is very much akin to the playful attitude.
With it, we keep things in perspective and we maintain a sense of humor;
without it, we get bogged down by our problems and our daily struggle for existence.
Play is a happy activity,
which begins in delight and ends in wisdom.
Frank and Theresa Caplan
It is a happy talent to know how to play.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Man is happiest when he is creating.
In fact, the highest state of which man is capable lies in the creative act.
The world is a game,
don’t make it too pompous
and most of all not moralistic.
Play and Peace
There are numerous peace organizations around the globe that aim to have a positive impact on our culture of wars and violence. Efforts are being made to influence the entertainment and the toy industry, as well as producers of video and computer games which all are permeated by abhorrent violence. Some of these organizations view non-violent play as the antidote to the influence of those industries, and even use the term play as part of their name such as:
peace through play http://www.peacethroughplay.org
Building Peace Through Play http://www.winnipeg-opendi.com/239606.html
The creative play with PlayArt is exactly the kind of non-violent play that peace organizations are trying to promote. Like music, it can bridge borders and language barriers. The multi-facetted contributions of PlayArt broaden and reinforce the positive effects of the peace initiatives.
Play leads to creativity –
creativity leads to peace.
The tragic acts of terrorism in the United States
demand that we look not for revenge but for constructive solutions
to building a non-violent world…
We remain steadfast in the mission of Play for Peace.
Mary Alice Long
Adventure is ultimately a creative endeavor that allows us to bring forth a new way of being.
Call it Play for Peace, Adventures in Peacemaking.
The paramount aim is to find ways by which people of all ages,
through play and creativity,
may be able to contribute to the transformation of the present culture of violence
to a culture of peace.
A playful and happy mindset nurtures other and more enjoyable priorities
than engaging in brutish and barbaric wars.
Play and the Future
Play will be to the 21st century what work was to the last 300 years of industrial society –
our dominant way of knowing, doing and creating value.
We tend to think of the Faustian man,
the one who fabricates, manipulates, seduces and ends up destroying.
But the new image will be man the creator, the artist, the player.
The Homo Ludens of the future as creator and inventor
will be the scientifically oriented artist
and the artistically animated scientist.
In my view, art and the approach to life through art,
using it as a vehicle for education and even for doing science
is so vital that it is part of a great new revolution that is taking place.
I believe we are entering a whole new epoch.
It is my opinion that the 21st century will be the century of play,
and that the heteroglossic activity of artists in the 20th century
has been the forecast.
(Talking about the future)
Yes, I’m sure civilizations will still evolve through play,
or rather as play,
since that seems to be a fundamental mechanism of our humanity.
I believe the PlayArt exhibition will become an epoch-making event
that should contribute a great deal toward the liberation of our society.
Nam June Paik
To see, experience, and understand the many functions and merits of play,
and to get liberated from our negative, detrimental heritage is the mission of PlayArt –
a Herculean task!
Puzzles are intimately involved in every aspect of life, art, science, culture.
PlayArt represents a rare paradigm shift in art.
It is not just another art form like pop art or minimalisms,
but a radical departure into a new realm.
For the first time we are dealing with the unprecedented complicity of the beholder.
The PlayArt concept opens up a new link between art museums and science museums,
a link which is presently missing.
There is no art movement in all of history with an equal amount of 'outside' substantiation.
The fact that there are still negative attitudes towards play and resistance towards PlayArt
is actually a cultural anachronism.
PlayArt has the makings of an important movement
and it promises to have a significant impact on our society.