turning language into objects
paper toy and wall newspaper
by Sönke Hallmann, Magda Tyzlik-Carver and Paul Gangloff
with special thanks to Inga Zimprich

The paper toy turning language into objects borrows its form from the tangram, a puzzle consisting of seven flat shapes that allow for different figures to appear, and its textual fragments from two reading sessions, entitled playing practice, which took place within the frame of the Department of Reading in April and July 2009.

The Department of Reading is an online-based project displayed in different spatial configurations and designed to promote new forms of reading. The Department of Reading suggests a use of texts linked to questions concerning the notion of community. Within a playful gesture the Department of Reading facilitates a common use of text that allows for the indirectness of reading, the machinic aspect of technology and their different temporalities to coincide. The Department of Reading actualizes a space of and within communication that is not limited to the production of discourse, but allows for other forms of intervention and encounter. Within its online sessions the Department of Reading assembles, specifies and performs different modes of reading each with their own temporality and degree of publicness. In order to participate in a reading session of the Department of Reading, all you need is an account on Skype and a connection to the Internet for the time of each session.

Click image to download PDF.
playing practice is the suggestion of a space where text becomes a matter of playing and playing a practice that allows for reading and writing to coincide. Sharing textual fragments as tools and toys, the first collaborative session took place at the Urbanomic Studio, Falmouth (GB), and online with the use of the Department of Reading, which combines Wiki, Skype and the Department of Reading Internet System (DoRIS). By proposing simple frameworks and rules with which to start the first session, playing itself became a space of encounter, experimentation and intervention that could be entered and left at any time. Participants were asked to bring their own toys with them, such as quotations and excerpts on the subject of playing itself. They were asked to share these toys by simply pasting them to the Wiki of the Department of Reading, so that these quotations could become a matter of common play through means of reading and writing. At the same time there was a repository of quotations to which each participant at Falmouth was welcome to add more textual toys. With the use of tools such as blue tack, magnets, papers, pens and scissors a physical version of the play was displayed at the Urbanomic Studio. The second session of playing practice started, where the previous one ended. Its aim was to summarize the first session and restage it in a different configuration. Another intention was to create a more intimate situation, where those entering could practise together according to their very own rhythm and tempo. There were fewer texts and each participant was asked to bring just one quote, taken out of those used in the previous session or any other quote on the subject of playing and toys. Another aim of this second session was to continue with the practice itself in order to understand the conditions (spatial, technological, relational, social, global, local, intellectual, political etc.) of playing.

playing practice has been organised by Magda Tyzlik-Carver and Sönke Hallmann and took place with the participation of Dominic Allen, Mark Amerika, Brendan Byrne, Sue Corke, Paul Gangloff, Ruth Mackay, Madam Ming, Scott Rigby, Johan Thelander, Monika Vykoukal, Inga Zimprich. Quotations and excerpts were used from Johan Huizinga's Homo Ludens. A Study of the Play Element in Culture, Pat Kane's The Play Ethic, Vivian Gussin Paley's A child’s work: the importance of fantasy play and The Boy Who Would Be a Helicopter, Ludic Society Magazine#3, Heiner Müller's "To use Brecht without criticizing him is to betray him." Franz Kafka's "Up in the Gallery," Giorgio Agamben's Profanations, Roland Barthes' Mythologies, K-punk's 'and when the groove is dead and gone', Henri Michaux' Les Commencements and Robert Filliou.
playing practice is part of the ongoing collaborative practice-led research project Virtual networks, social fabrics, which aims to discuss the matter of community and the common in the context of temporal and spatial conditions created through the practice of reading, ecosystems of plausible artworlds as well as in theoretical and direct curatorial approaches. It attempts to understand the concept of community in the online and offline spaces, in which a community exists. As a space of encounter and experimentation Virtual networks, social fabrics invites to reflect on the common through the practice of the Department of Reading and its conceptual assumptions, through research practice, theoretical discussion as well as a curatorial approach to the research project New Models of Curating? and through the frame of Plausible Artworlds (Basekamp).

Virtual networks, social fabrics was initiated in 2008 by Magda Tyzlik-Carver with Sönke Hallmann and Scott Rigby.


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