Seven years, I had lived in Australia by now. I was a long way from home. But I was also two years an Australian citizen — so really, what was home?
A difficult question, as difficult as my ongoing attempt to make a life here that felt like it was truly mine. Australia began for me with a fracture that refused to heal; a plot twist that wrenched me from a new life as I expected it to unfold. The uncertainty that followed was relentless, blotting out the landscape and any recollection of the paths that I had previously forged through blind terrain. I could not see this place, and thus estranged I could not see myself.
So it was perhaps inevitable that I would reach this point. That my desire to build a game to make the world more real; a game that was requiring me to play for real, would lead to such a simple, brutal plan.
I would go back to every place where I had lived since moving to Australia. I would start at the beginning, and walk my way into the present. This would take me to eleven locations scattered across Melbourne; eleven homes in seven years.
Seven years, I decided, in seven days. T1
T1:As concepts like indexicality suggest, play is typically considered to be a relaxing leisure activity in which nothing happens for real. But as historian James Carse notes: ‘To be playful is not to be trivial or frivolous, or to act as though nothing of consequence will happen. On the contrary, when we are playful with each other we relate as free persons, and the relationship is open to surprise; everything that happens is of consequence. It is, in fact, seriousness that closes itself to consequence, for seriousness is a dread of the unpredictable outcome of open possibility. To be serious is to press for a specified conclusion. To be playful is to allow for possibility whatever the cost to oneself’ (1986, p. 15).
Throughout all of the previous stages of the game, this is what I had been approaching. The ability to work propositionally (Jones 2009); to close the sketchbook and walk into the unknown. As I struggled with this process I finally came to understand the reason for my struggle: I had lost touch with the inner self that is essential to the ability to play (Winnicott 1965). This understanding was communicated by that very inner self, which had been made more present by my struggles with the uncertainty of process.
Now that self and I stood together as if on a precipice, ready to leap into a much greater unknown.To allow for possibility, whatever the cost to oneself. This was what it meant to play for real.