Archives for the month of: August, 2012
Day one at the Mini Maker Faire Montreal 2012. The Bisarro Game Controllers team was there, along with Arcade Royale & Wylde Collective Ltd.

Visitors laying “Pong” with the PushMe/PullYou controller.

Our poster for the Pushme/Pullyou controller.

Vansendorfer with Team Bisarro Controllers felt beanie

Our first public presentation of our controller was quite successful. People enjoyed using the controller to play pong. They eventually began interact with each other(or not) through the controller. The relative lack of indexicality didn’t impede the enjoyment of play for most people, but it did impose anticipatory movements as players synchronised their movements.

As a research tool, it meets the original, hypothetical goals: it had to be fun, because my research centers around the philosophy of play as a phenomenological and epistemological ground to study intersubjectivity. If the device wasn’t fun, then it would not offer much insight into play.

Briefly, my theoretical forbears for this series of exploration are Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and specifically his concept of the chiasm. At its simplest, this is the experience we have when we clasp our own hands together. Which hand touches which? Which do we feel to be touching the other? Merleau-Ponty’s studies are indebted to Edmund Husserl, and in my case especially, his concept of the epoché. This is the state of mind where we attempt to push aside (“to bracket”) the social and culture filters and examine our experience directly. This characterisation of epoché sounds similar to the “magic circle of play”, where we are at least mentally free from instrumental cares and concerns.

It was in the epoché that Husserl thought he could find a philosophically grounded account of intersubjectivity. And it is in the mediated touching of a game that I hope to add to this school of thought.



I was reading an article on “Grinders”, people who experiment with surgical implants(hacking their bodies). they spoke of how rare earth magnets would, when placed in (I don’t recommend this) your finger tips allow you to sense electromagnetic fields. How could we use this to interact with one another? To play? How would this differ from the non-digital media of the rope in tug o’ war?

The second are conjoined twins. The example that struck me are Abigail & Brittany Hensel, who share a lower body but have separate upper bodies. How they operate physically, understand each other and interact socially starts raising questions about how we normalise body experience and conciousness. This suggests Merleau-Ponty’s concept of the chiasm as a starting point for theorising about these experiences.