Chapter IX.

Passing On

  9 year old Master Wizard (right) teaching his apprentice in his own practice of magic in the Kingdom of Caer Cadarn - 2016, Hejce, Hungary

9 year old Master Wizard (right) teaching his apprentice in his own practice of magic in the Kingdom of Caer Cadarn - 2016, Hejce, Hungary

 

In April 2018, I applied for the 2018-2020 Fellowship at The New School's Vera List Centre for Art and Politics. My intention was and is to pursue my practice outside of the conventional realms of art and into alternative forms of politics, especially education.

As Pipecland in Hungary was initially founded as a counter-educational initiative, I found myself returning to this perspective more and more throughout my research. Even though it is obvious that Ludic Societies do produce their idiosyncratic corpus of knowledge, I am interested in seeing how Ludic Societies can work as legitimate forms of education in an everyday environment. In short, I’d like to put forward a series of actions in order to see how a self-fulfilling Liminal Society can actually act as a catalyst for producing knowledge and experience that would be impossible to get otherwise.

With that in mind, I proposed establishing a Ludic Society within the walls of the Vera List Centre. This could be done through a series of Transformation Games specifically developed and tailored for the Fellowship. The Ludic Society at hand can either consist from a select group of participants (recruited via an open call or a sign-up process), an ever-changing body of people (provided they accept the Contracts of the Society), or even the entire Vera List Centre, using its existing structure as the initial frame to start from. This Ludic Society would either be a short-term, full-time Society (much like in a 24/7 role-playing game) or a part-time Society (much like a Secret Society or a Masonic Order). The goals in the preliminary design process would be to see how can one establish a temporary-autonomous zone within an educational institution, not as a form of protest, but to find new paths of knowledge production.

This is not to fall into the possible traps that could occur with such projects. On one hand, there is the issue of the idiosyncratic trying to translate itself outside the magic circle. The issues of this (intelligibility, the role of the Document, being perceived as Esoteric, and so on) has been addressed in the Project Proposal, so I won’t go into more detail here. On the other hand, there is the chance of the ‘self-fulfilling autonomy’ of the Ludic Society being jeopardized once there is an overarching explicit educational goal involved. We have all seen educational programs, learn-as-you play games, and other projects that are being labeled as ‘fun and educational’ (and usually aimed for a younger audience) coming off as kind of fake, to say the least. Both children and adults realize (on a visceral level) when playfulness is masqueraded to obfuscate a hidden agenda. This can be also seen as an asset, redeeming play and playfulness from the possibility of it being truly corrupted. 


My other intention with pursuing an educational path is to see if Transformation Games can be turned from my individual practice into a sustainable method of knowledge production - one that would be able to go on without me being present, ultimately emancipating me from the role of the author-maker.

  Map containing all possible interactions within 'Court', an imagination ritual by Roel Heremans and Áron Birtalan - 2016

Map containing all possible interactions within 'Court', an imagination ritual by Roel Heremans and Áron Birtalan - 2016

Transformation Games are made to be adopted by anyone who is in possession the initial script, containing the instructions for both Facilitators and participants. I intend to publish my Games in the future, so they can be run by anyone, the same way a board-game can be played out, with the right amount of people and using the provided manual. Alternatively, one could think of a course or workshop (through the Secret Fiction platform) that would teach and certify future Facilitators for Transformation Games. This way of transmitting knowledge also proposes the notion of the 'institute' in education - a notion that could be interesting to explore in relation to Ludic Societies.

This again touches upon the questions on authorship and authority outlined earlier: if Transformation Games can and should be adopted by all, their artistic, political and educational value can only be measured through individual instances, but as a continuous, sustainable practice, that is passed down from one to another. Thus, the practice can move from isolated islands of maker-authors to a constantly evolving domain that can even be described as making-of-folklore. Last year a child in another Kingdom stemming from the Pipecland lineage came across my writings I made as a magician in the Kingdom of Hegyhon back in 2003 (at the time I was 13), and using those writings was able to adapt and create her own system of magic. Though this story might have some nerdy undertones, in my view, initiating such processes overall is what my path as maker should be about.