Photo: Frank Piasecki Poulsen
The Games (2003-2008)
The Games refer to a series of performances that include a specific hierarchy, a series of common themes, and a reoccurring mode of play. Often played in liminal spaces of a city or town, many of the Games were played in camps with broken-down caravans or in abandoned buildings. A secret underground organization cradling the world decrees that the games must be played at all times, ensuring the planet’s rotation by forces generated during play. Players for the games are either found in the streets, or traded from hospitals, prisons and traffickers - they are brainwashed and thrown into the games, where they must struggle to survive, and please their masters … and so the game masters wander from place to place with their devoted servants, and herd of desperate players.
Each game is assigned a numerical level from 1 to 10 according to the formality of the space and its accompanying amenities. Games over a level 5 incorporate a Goddess as a gatekeeper of sorts, who blesses the characters of the Game. In the context of the game, the hierarchy is as follows: the Goddess, the Masters/Masterettes, the servants, the player/playerettes.
Visually, character representations of each group are consistent across the Games: the Master/Masterettes reference a ghostly 17th century French style and only respond when treated with authority, the servants are formal, but also hold many clues to unlocking the logic of the Games. The Player and Playerettes are numbered human “carte blanches” who, in revolving rounds are thrown into improvised competitions that are established by the spinning Wheels of Identity and Chance.
The Wheels determine the fates of the Players and Playerettes for each round, assigning them temporary archetypes to embody, mysterious numerical point values, and themes of play like lust, sorrow or greed. Surrounding all of the Games is a lurking sense of arbitrary victory and defeat, compounded by mortally high stakes and an impending sense of violence. As the Games evolved over time, the lore of previous rounds and lost players from levels past add to the uncertainty of the future.