I seem to be largely done with my work on the new project, now called Post-Apocalyptic Abramovic Method Game, so I thought I should write some words to try to work out what I thought or think I was doing with it.
For one thing, I changed the name so it’s singular and not plural now – originally the game was going to be the five exercises (counting the rice and sesame, looking at the colors, stepping on the ground, stopping the anger, complaining to a tree) each set in its own little diorama world, and you would kind of jump off the edge of one to get to the next. But the small worlds felt too small, too obviously toy-like, and thus not especially post-apocalyptic, which seems to speak of a need for a larger horizon. So now all the exercises are on one swathe of terrain, and the whole thing is just one game now. Also, to be absurdly technical, none of the actual exercises in this game are “games” for me – you can’t do anything in the world except walk around and see the detritus of the Method. You could perform the Method yourself in response to what you see, but really each thing is not mechanically a game in the way it was in the Abramovic Method Games. Rather, the whole thing is a “game” constructed to play with the ideas of the previous games and the Method itself. Okay? Okay.
The way the new game works is that you wake up as someone (or something, or some presence) going on an Abramovic Method retreat somewhere in the country/woods, except that the apocalypse has happened and the world is a dead wasteland now. So you wake up in your once-nice retreat house, which is mostly destroyed, and wander off to take part in the exercises around the environment. I like the idea that you’re both a kind of the ghost of a committed Method practitioner and also a kind of archeologist of the objects/ideas of the Method that are still around after the unspecified catastrophic event (and presumably after many years). You could take on either of those roles (or both?) as you relate to the world of the game.
Centrally, the whole game is also conceived as a joke (because I’m me) about the idea of “long durational performance”. The proposition being that the Method itself is a performance, and the game asks the question of how long it can ‘last for’, including through an apocalyptic catastrophe and beyond. This also probably plays into Marina Abramovic’s ideas around legacy, particularly the Method as something she can leave behind for the world. But of course if we’re talking about a wasteland with destroyed trees and broken walls, did the Method survive after all? You be the judge!
Big questions, little game, poorly formulated words. Goodnight.