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Play Is – Play Matters

Sicart, M. (2014). Play Is. In Play Matters (pp. 1-18). MIT Press.

In the chapter Play Is, Sicart outlines the core tenants of the book Play Matters and gives some core aspects of play as Contextual, Carnivalesque, Appropriative, Disruptive, Autotelic, and Creative. The chapter lays the ground for the rest of the book, and focuses heavily on human play. The chapter gives weight to the idea that when humans are at play, they are more open to the world and its possibilities. The work draws lines between a number of existing scholarly texts and work on play, but tries to differentiate play from games, as an set of interactions inside a context. This is important to discuss the significance of play to the thesis and why play and playfulness could be important to Speculative Design and Design Fictions.

Useful Quotes

“To play is to be in the world. Playing is a form of understanding what surrounds us and who we are, and a way of engaging with others. Play is a mode of being human.” (p1)

“Play is a manifestation of humanity, used for expressing and being in the world.” (p2)

“It is a way of being in the world, like languages, thought, faith, reason, and myth” (p3)

“Let’s not talk about play as fun but as pleasurable, opening us to the immense variations of pleasure in the world” (p3)

“Through play we experience the world, we construct it and we destroy it, and we explore who we are and what we can say. Play frees us from moral conventions but makes them still present, so we are aware of their weight, presence, and importance.” (p5)

“We play because we are human, and we understand what makes us human, not in an evolutionary or cognitive way but in a humanistic way. Play is the force that pulls us together. It is a way of explaining the world, others, and ourselves. Play is expressing ourselves-who we want to be, or who we don’t want to be. Play is what we do when we are human.” (p6)

“Play is like language-a way of being in the world, or making sense of it.” (p18)

From Meier in the notes section
“The realm of play, if participated in openly, offers obvious opportunities to explore alternative modes of awareness, to develop insights into and knowledge of new modes of being, and to explore radically different possibilities perhaps not readily available elsewhere” (Meier 1988, 194)

Further Reading

Meier, K., (1988) An Affair of Flutes: An Appreciation of Play. In Philosophic Inquiry in Sport, Ed. Morgan w., & Merier, K., Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

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