• How does #thechairgame work?

    On: April 21, 2016
    In: culture, education
    Views: 2272
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    We’ve had a good sign-up rate for The Chair Game tomorrow, Friday 22nd April, at the V&A Performance Festival.

    We gather at 1:45pm for a 2-4pm game, after which we’ll repair to a local pub. Come along if you can, and sign-up here so we have a sense of numbers.

    But how does it work many people have asked. So here’s a quick ruleset:

    1. Everyone sits in a chair, randomly distributed in the space.
    2. One player is “chair zombie” – they vacate their seat, walk to the other side of the space
    3. The chair zombie can only walk, at a steady pace
    4. They must try and sit in the empty seat.
    5. It’s everyone else’s job to stop that happening, not by blocking them, but by occupying the empty seat
    6. Which means vacating the one you’re in, so the zombie heads for that one
    7. Everyone else can move as fast as they like – e.g. they can run between seats.
    8. Once you’re up, you can’t sit back down in the same seat
    9. The round ends when the zombie sits in an empty chair
    10. Repeat, ad infinitum

    What happens as a result of multiple plays, as people learn the game, is the interesting part. We’ve trialling out two specific (non-playing) roles tomorrow to help this part of the game along…

    The Whatcher – the person who, at the end of every round, asks what went wrong, and what the group’s next strategy should be

    Waits & Measures – The timekeeper, who tells the group how long they succeeded for, and what interesting things happened (and when)

    See you there if you can make it.

    (previous post on what this is all about…)

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  • The Chair Game – Live at the V&A

    On: April 12, 2016
    In: culture, education, people
    Views: 2850
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    This is the year of The Chair Game“, I said to Rob, over a pint after an evening’s play in London Bridge. He’d just spent two hours running the game for all of us who were new to it, save for Clarisa.

    It was her fault, apparently. She’d been in a workshop Rob was doing where he’d used The Chair Game as an exercise. “If you run a workshop that’s just The Chair Game for hours, I’d come to that” she told him. Hence London Bridge. True to her word, Clarisa flew over from France especially for it.

    The Chair Game is pretty simple. Everyone has a chair. They’re randomly distributed around a space. One person gets up, and walks to the side; they’re the chair zombie. They have to amble towards the empty chair. It’s everyone else’s job to stop them by sitting in the empty one. They can’t block them, but they can run as fast as they like. But once they’re up, they’re up – they can’t sit back on the same chair.

    Chaos ensues…

    Mexico - P1090203

    The first round is always really quick. Like, six seconds as an average. Then you ask the players what went wrong? And what their strategy next time should be. And you go again. And again. And again.

    It’s a game that is about strategy as much as you want it to be. You can stop, analyse, plot and plan, instruct and act. Or you can just play. It is compelling to watch, and addictive to play. Since learning about the game, I’ve been building it into various strategy workshops as part of the narrative, and prototyping workshops as part of the fun. We started calling it Karaisu, for fun – like karaoke; Japanese* for “Empty Chair”…

    Karaisu

    Another thing happened after the night Rob showed us the game.

    James was there, and James works at the V&A in London. We joked on email that we should play it on all the very expensive chairs at the V&A. Ho ho ho. Wouldn’t that be a lark?

    Two weeks later, James emails again. We’re on. Not on the expensive chairs. But at the V&A. As part of the Performance Festival. Look, we’re even listed on the site.

    We’re playing next week, on Friday 22nd April, 1:45 meet-up for a 2pm start. We’ll be in the John Madejski at the V&A in South Kensington. We finish at 4pm, and then head to a pub to unpack what goes on.

    And we need some more players.

    If you are around, and fancy it, then please sign-up here. We need around 30-40 players. Send this on to anyone else who might fancy it too, and we’ll send confirmations out next week.

    So sign up, and come down and play.

    Because this is the year of The Chair Game.

     

    *I checked with a Japanese friend – it kinda doesn’t mean this, but also kinda does.

     

     

     

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  • Delaminating Reality – a week at IED Barcelona

    On: July 27, 2015
    In: culture, design, education, material culture
    Views: 2409
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    I spent last week teaching on the first week of the Innovation & Future Thinking summer course at the IED in Barcelona with Scott Smith.

    You can listen to us talking about what transpired here on a little podcast we made there…

    …and I thought I’d just throw up a few photos on here too, to give to you a flavour of it (the whole album is here on flickr).

    Never have the Artefact Field Kits been so rigorously put through their paces… good luck to all the students and Scott in the final week as they prepare their projects to present.

    We might well be doing another one in the winter now too, but if not, well, come to Barcelona to dance round the streets and find the future in the fragments of the present.

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  • Folksy Summer School

    On: October 5, 2013
    In: education, making
    Views: 1249
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    The folks at Folksy have just put up a lovely wee video which takes me back to all the brilliant people I met and things we talked about when I was up there…

    This was the Folksy Summer School 2013 from Folksy on Vimeo.

    Just the tonic as summer gives way to the falling leaves and dropping tempeatures of autumn.  Here’s my talk that I gave here too, on ‘A Certain Tone Of Action”.  I hope they have another Summer School next year, because it was one of the highlights of my year so far.

    John V Willshire at Folksy Summer School from Folksy on Vimeo.

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  • Cohort: Our Oxford Project

    On: September 30, 2013
    In: education, rivetings
    Views: 1032
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    We spent last week at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School, taking over their innovation space, creating exploratory workshops and experiments with the folks there, and subsequent event with some alumni of the prestigious Oxford Strategic Leadership Programme (OSLP).  I mentioned it in a previous post.

    Here’s just a quick video of what we made last week… a fuller explanation will follow soon.

     

    ‘We’ in this case being a team of Chris Thorpe on 3D printing and code wrangling, Thomas Forsyth on Making Molten Brass Do Things, and in his last Smithery endeavour before heading back to Loughborough Design School to finish his Industrial Design Degree, Fraser Hamilton on general problem solving.

    A better team for talent, temperament and wit you could not wish for.  Thank you, gents.

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