Glasses Piece for a Group of People
Give each other glasses to wear.
Look each other in the eyes for one minute.
Converse with each other the next.
Do not tell any one your feelings.
I’ve always been interested in video games that challenge your emotions and make you feel something you either dislike or do not feel often. I saw other students in this class go for similar themes – “Uncomfortable Piece” and “Breakfast Orchestra Piece” come to mind, as they try to make social interactions awkward or the atmosphere odd. Of those two, my Glasses Piece score follows the same direction that “Uncomfortable Piece” does, which was based on social interaction constrained by limitations.
Fluxus scores are, by nature, extremely limited in scope. They are generally very specific instructions with a low word count designed to make you feel something new or different. I wanted to take this limited theme to an even further extreme when it came to social interaction, while also making it a little absurd by needlessly incorporating glasses into the piece (where people can think whatever they want about them). In limiting the interaction in the score to everything except feelings, players are likely to have a hard time thinking up anything to talk about.
To underscore this point, when this piece was played in class one of the players tried to bargain with me on what exactly they could say – whether something they were physically feeling was part of their “feelings” and if they could talk about it. Also, because the timing of the score is so specific one person has to keep time and things feel rushed. If a player did want to say something, they better speak quickly. However, it felt like, because this is a score for 2+ people, having more than two people would lead to someone dominating the conversation. I would want to make the game more fun (even though it is supposed to be awkward) by making it a game for two people only.
One piece in Yoko Ono’s “Grapefruit” that I was inspired by is “Snow Piece”, a cute and silly piece that doesn’t necessarily make you think of another person in a new way, but makes you see them in a visually different way. It is likely to have you avoid thinking of emotions when a person is talking, but maybe not! If they’re talking in a frenzy, perhaps there is a blizzard covering them. In the same way, I hope “Glasses Piece” would let players conjure up things that surround other players, as they’re forced to stare into each other’s eyes for a minute. When you look in to another person’s eyes, what do you see? A lot of times I imagine fire, but it depends on that person. Maybe they are staring intently at each other, or maybe they are trying to discreetly not focus on each other. The awkwardness can make it fun.
Video documentation: https://youtu.be/JPcYUbc1jQ0