Friday, December 31, 2004
Innocently browsing through one of my favorite Wikipedia articles on "Invented Sport
. I came across a game called, in similar-seeming innocence, "Three Sided Football
I, myself, having previously contemplated the various ramifications of 3-sided sports
, was therefore stimulated to click onwards, whereupon I learned that "Three-sided football is a situationist game meant to disrupt one's everyday idea of football. A variant of two-sided football, it was devised by the Danish situationist Asger Jorn. Played on a hexagonal pitch, the game can be adapted for similarity to soccer as well as other versions of football. It has been promoted in England, Scotland, Italy, Serbia and Austria by the Luther Blissett Three-sided Football League. The first known game played was organized by the London Psychogeographical Association at the Glasgow Anarchist Summer School in 1993."
Lured inexorably onward, I found myself on this significantly unexpurgated page
(not for kids or those seeking clarity) whereupon I learned that:
"Unlike two-sided football, no team keeps a record of the number of goals they score. However they do keep a tally of the goals they concede, and the winner is determined as the team which concedes least goals. The game deconstructs the mythic bi-polar strcuture of conventional football, where an us-and-them struggle mediated by the referee mimics the way the media and the state pose themselves as "neutral" elements in the class struggle."
Reading on, I found myself so far beyond the reach of tongue in cheek, that I eventually had no recourse but to share this playful perplexity with you.
Friday, December 24, 2004
The Dynamic Dumpster Division Duo and the Day After Christmas
I, as a keen and practiced observer of Americankind, foresee in your very, very near future, a great abundance and variety of trash. Bits and sheets of wrapping paper, amazing variety of ribbons, and a playworthy plethora of bows, lids, and box bottoms. In other words, everything you need involve everyone in making art and playing junkyard sports, right there, in the wherever, with the whomever.
For the junk art, you would probably want to invite people like the Dynamic Dumpster Division Duo
to come and play with you. These women, creators of Trashopia
, and the Great Mystery Bag Trash Art Challenge
, have made the whole junk-art thing into a kind of universal play form. And then, when you're ready to take a break from all that universal art-making, you can have your Junkyard Sports-like experience, starting off with something perhaps very much like Junkyard Golf
. Or Baseball, maybe. Box-lid baseball with ribbon balls or something.
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
, similar in certain highly suggestive ways to Rocky DeKoven's much-vaunted "Shoreshoes
," and no doubt born of similar influence to that which gave rise to "Subversive Golf
," and a direct descendant of Urban Golf
, Debaucheryball is Shoreshoes played with bocce balls. Or, as some might call it, "Free Form Ad Hoc Bocce."
The perhaps most significant contribution of D-Ball to the lexicon of game wackification and further Calvinballism could perhaps be seen as the "Fair Rule" concept.
When a team scores three times in a row (three consecutive turns) that team is allowed to make up a new rule. A new (fair) rule is defined as one that affects each player exactly the same, or one that all the players agree is fair. The purpose is to make the game more complicated and more challenging, or simply more annoying.
Any standard fair rule is fair, regardless of what some loser who you barely know but your friend brought thinks. There are some rules which come up in debaucheryball again and again, and history says, “Live with it.” Some societies, the more advanced of the primitive societies, start their games with several fair rules and go from there.
While there is no limit to the number of fair rules allowed, more than three can become somewhat confusing. It’s a good idea, when creating a fourth rule, to make sure it negates an existing rule.
Though, arguably, one could make a case for the even vastier implications of the Unfair Rule
When a team scores four times in a row (scores again after just making a rule), that team is allowed to make an unfair rule.
An unfair rule is defined as one that affects only one person—not an entire team. The idea is to single out and pick on one person, you know, to build their character and sportsmanship or make them look like a complete tool. This is a great way of getting back at the guy who drew all over you with magic marker the last time you passed out at a party.
Unfair rules can be a lot of fun, but they can get out of hand. Be prepared for a war if you pick on someone too hard. The unfair rules listed elsewhere are only suggestions.
There is no limit to the number of unfair rules.
Monday, December 20, 2004
Spam. You can hate it all you want. You can filter it so well that you no one can send you email. Or, you can embrace it. You can, for example, make poetry
out of it. Or, should you need to go to even greater lengths and widths, you can use it to make Spam Shirts
. I quote:
spamshirt.com was created out of a determination to find a use for spam, the curse of the in-box. spamshirt came up with a unique solution: a way of recycling irritating, useless spam messages into an expression of personality and style.
spamshirt does exactly what it suggests, we take spam and we put it on a shirt. But not just any old shirt - spamshirt use a range of comfortable, stylish cotton shirts to ensure cheap, nasty spam is transformed into quality fashion items, turning spam into glam.
And you can write up to 55 characters worth of your own original spam, should you be so moved in a self-spamming kinda way.
Friday, December 17, 2004
Aaron Ximm's "One Minute Vacations
"..."are unedited recordings of somewhere, somewhen. Sixty seconds of something else. Sixty seconds to be someone else." He explains: "The project began as I grappled with what it meant to be a tourist in another culture. It continues as I grapple with what it means to be a tourist in my own."
He's been collecting what are called "field recordings" since 1998. "While traveling in Vietnam, I recorded musicians, trains, moving water, crickets, monks, markets, metalwork, tired animals, and drunken tourists. The earliest work on this site is the result of my discovery of ways of working with that sound as sole medium."
Found sounds. Amazing how we kind of disregard the sounds our environments make when we experience them, and yet never really discard them. Listening to a found sound is remembering. Or at least imagining that we do.
Being a collector of found sounds is a junkly pursuit par excellence. The bigger the collection, the more choices, the more choices, the more fun. The very act of capturing the sound is at least as moving for the sound finder as it is for the found sound listener. It is to hear in the ambiance of every day noise the constant invitation to play.
He suggests you use your headphones. I concur.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Where have all the players gone?
Dr. Olga Jarrett, president of The Association for the Study of Play
, has a lot of important things to say about the state of child's play. You'll find them summarized in this article
. In the mean time, let me give you a sample:
Many of the schools in at least 10 states have abolished recess, causing children to spend many six hour days without exercise or down time. Even kindergarten is affected. A recent survey of Georgia schools suggests that 25% of the kindergarten children do not get daily recess. They are indoors all day. Children without recess miss an opportunity to chase each other, make up their own games, decide what is fair and who is “it” and hone their physical skills and imagination on playground equipment. The pressure to increase test scores has caused many school systems to opt for "uninterrupted instructional time."
Children whose parents have the time and money to involve them in lessons, organizations, and sports often lead very structured lives, as they spend after school hours, Saturdays, and summers in one program after another. They don’t have much time for free play. On the other hand, latchkey children generally don’t have much opportunity to play either. They are expected to stay at home and not have friends over to play.
It is to provoke thought. And hopefully, action. Thank you, Dr. Jarrett.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
Jerome Blockman and the Broom and Shoe Miniature Golf Club
Thanks to the collective creativity of the Santa Monica Boys and Girls Club, we may have arrived at the ultimate expression of the junkyard golf club. Behold, Jerome Blockman and the Broom and Shoe Golf Club. Contemplate the club-like properties of the used athletic shoe combined with the power and polish of the well-used broom. Imagine the control you can get when you connect toe first, or the power of the side-of-the-shoe club impact. Could it get, you may be called upon to wonder, any better than this?
This photo came from the world's first Junkmaster Training for a Boys and Girls Club, anywhere. Jerome was one of about 30 staff members who spent the morning playing and inventing Junkyard Golf, and the afternoon, Junkyard Basketball. Many junkly apotheoses were achieved, one of which included office chairs and ping pong paddles. For me, it was one more of those always welcome doubt-removing experiences. For the participants, a day of fun, creativity and inspiration. And the thing about it is that it won't stop there. They'll be doing this with their kids. And, hopefully, those kids will be doing it with other kids in their playground and neighborhood and back yards. And maybe their world will get a little more fun, after all.
Monday, December 13, 2004
When I'm helping people develop their own Junkyard Sports event, I find myself, from time to time, having to seek alternatives to the traditional socks, pantyhose, waterbottle, grocery bag collection process. I encounter a certain, well, squeamishness. And whether on not it's justifiable, the fact is that for some people, the idea of re-using stuff from a local recycling center is laden with germy implications and auras of potential nastiness. This is where organizations like the Scroungers Center for Reusable Art Parts
become an invaluable resource, and positive inspiration for new levels of junkly joy. They explain:
SCRAP is a creative reuse center, store and workshop space founded in 1976 in San Francisco, California. Donations of re-usable materials such as textiles, paper, jewelry findings, wood, buttons and plastics are collected from businesses, institutions and individuals and distributed to art and educational groups.
By breathing new life into old objects, SCRAP reduces the amount of waste going to crowded landfills. By offering low cost art and re-use workshops and providing schools and organizations with badly needed art supplies, SCRAP stimulates creativity and environmental awareness.
Manufacturers save money on their disposal costs and receive tax benefits. Artists transform SCRAP materials into sculptures, paintings, and other masterpieces. Children and adults learn how to "REDUCE, RE-USE AND RECYCLE." Anyone can contribute by donating clean, reusable materials that might otherwise be thrown away.
A couple decades ago, such scrap centers were in almost every major metropolitan area, serving artists, educators, fashion designers, and the cool and groovy. Sadly, as education became more occupied with testing than learning, economy than ecology, there are only a few, highly exemplary organizations like SCRAP. On the other hand, knowing that at least one has survived for more than 25 years, is more than reassuring. It's a promise of a resource for generations of Junkmasters, just like you.
Friday, December 10, 2004
Giant Pick-Up Sticks, at last!
28 years later, and I finally have a photo of giant pick up sticks. Courtesy of Marie Martin
, who writes "I thought you might like to see another wave (or blow) of your influence....
The Festival of the Wind is a bi-annual event in Esperance. Esperance is on the southern coast of Western Australia and has a vibrant volunteer community. There are about 13,000 people in the town and involvement in over 550 volunteer organisations at federal, state and local levels. Anna and I did work with Esperance Volunteer Resource Centre in 2002/2003 to create a video for 'bridging the gap to volunteering' - helping people become volunteers in rural and remote locations. The Festival of the Wind involves artists, environmentalists and scientists in an event that focuses on one of the strengths (or irritations) of Esperance - it is windy for about 300 days each year! When my family was camping there some years ago we went from the camping ground into town (20 miles) for dinner because the meat kept blowing off the barbeque!"
Giant Pick-Up Sticks in the wind. Next time, they should try it with flags on top of each stick! Kinda like, um, Spellikans.
For more on this game, and Spellikans, see this
Wednesday, December 08, 2004
There are probably more connections between junkyard sports and the arts than there are between junkyard sports and, um, sports. The same drive to transform the "useless" into the playworthy, the same spirit that transforms plastic bags and scrap into a soccer ball, the same need to engage, explore, express - can be found in junk sculpture, junk jewelry, junk fashion, and especially, wonderfully, in junk music.
You know, of course, about the junk-playing, dancing art of Stomp
, and maybe you even know about the Taiko
-like celebrations of junk-made instruments, creativity and choreography of Scrap Arts Music
, but for a taste of what junk-inspired musical innovation leads to, take a long look at Odd Music
. Spend maybe 15 minutes, or hours, exploring their gallery
of traditional and invented instruments. Yes, the art and craft, the discipline, the hundreds of hours that went into the creation of each instrument - these all may seem a far cry from the slapdash improvisations that lead to the creation of things like the Junkyard Golf Club
. But the spirit, the need to break from the constraints of the "official," the taking up of the freedom to innovate, even within the confines of the most traditional of forms, the ingenuity that inspires us to make our own, out of whatever, simply because we want to play - these are all, most gloriously, the same.
Monday, December 06, 2004
This guitar, and its case
are made completely out of matches and matchbooks. The guitar, and its case, are fully functional and play-with-able.
The artist of matches explained: "I sorted out and hand-picked from the piles of matchsticks - only those with even-sided square burnt ends. Then every one of them had to be individually cut down to variable measured lengths, so that I could interlock the blackened, burnt match-heads to form decorative patterns."
The author of this article, his son, adds: "My father was an ordinary man with an extraordinary talent. When you see and realise the extent of human imagination, effort and endeavour, the perception is one of an unrivalled piece of craftsmanship, ingenuity and improvisation. I consider it a great honour and a privilege to look after and cherish his collection. A lasting legacy, the like of which will probably never be seen again. These works of art are not match-less but, however, they are matchless."
I have decided to call this "extreme recycling." A Junkyard Xgame for craftspeople who do it all for fun. What do you think?
Friday, December 03, 2004
The Junkyard Sports Hall of Fame Wants YOU
Have you by chance recently clicked your way to the newly updated and significantly stimulating Junkyard Sport Hall of Fame
? And if so, have you not been both vastly entertained and somehow informed by the stories and images therein depicting, for example, golf of both the Ice
kind? Have you yourself perhaps invented, created or discovered a new and more accurate Junkyard Golf club? Have you made a Junkyard Golf hole using perhaps some hitherto unreported collection of junk on some previously unimagined terrain? Have you possibly invented something similar to Ice Croquet or even Urban Horseshoes? Have you consequently or subsequently wondered if your junkyard sport story and pictures and clips deserve their place in the virtual sun?
Well, then, The Junkyard Sports Hall of Fame wants you! Well, not necessarily you - but your Junkyard Sport. Pictures. Stories. Clips. Whatever. Well, not exactly whatever.
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
Hot Dog Art
, as a matter of fact, is an elephant. It was made out of hot dogs. Why make elephants out of hot dogs? You might as well ask: "why make a bird or a butterfly or a duck, in fact, out of hot dogs."
Why? Because you can. And because Nippon Meat Packers, Inc., is there to show you how. Step-by-as-a-matter-of-fact-step.
And one can only thank them for their carefully illustrated instructions. Especially if one doesn't read Japanese. And perhaps even more especially than that if one is considering putting on a JunkFest. For when it comes to exploring the joys of junk food, what a victory for the spirit and the stomach of man awaits those who can make an art, as well as a meal out of it.
Not surprisingly, this whole delicious concept of edible art is often mistakenly more considered child's play than as an adult worthy pursuit. Hence, we are quite maturely justified in turning to Disney's Family Fun website
for further inspiration.