new books

December 28, 2015 - workbook

I’m very pleased with my Christmas and birthday present books. I’ve made a start on Sebastian Deterding and Steffen Walz’s The Gameful World and Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman’s The Game Design Reader. Although I’ve already had a dip into both via our library copies, it’s good to be able to spend more time with them. Both are collections of essays on gameful design in non-game and game contexts respectively, and have some very useful texts. So far I’ve been drawn to Roger Caillois’ classic 1962 text ‘The Definition of Play: The Classification of Games’, Greg Costikyan’s ‘I have no words & I must design’ and Bernard Suits’ ‘Construction of a definition’. I’ve been exploring definitions of games as a way to think about rules in the pieces I’m working on, and this has led to a more focussed study of games and play. Other useful books in this regard are John Sharp’s excellent Works of Game Miguel Sicart’s Play MattersMy plan over the next couple of months is to orientate myself via these various texts with a view to exploring the way rule-based compositions intersect with games. I’ve made a few tentative steps in this regard over the past year, with a few conference papers, visiting lectures and a keynote. Time to do some more intensive work on this now though.

So the other two books are also great. Miguel de Avila Duarte pointed me towards Do It which came out just after we completed Word Events. It presents a series of verbal scores by mostly visual artists, collected by Hans Ulrich Obrist over a period 20 years. There are some really great pieces here, and from my point of view it’s very exciting to find there’s so little crossover with Word Events in terms of content. Highly recommended.

The last book is not a Christmas or birthday present, but was given to me by Michel Roth on my recent visit to the Basel Musikakademie. It’s part of a set of publications that explores Dieter Roth’s music and this volume traces his work through discussion with his collaborators. The companion score of Roth’s Splittersonate is worth a look too. It’s a mix of diary entries that comprise music notation, drawing, and photography, all with annotations, and the piece is dedicated to the first person to perform it.



  1. Alan Munro says:

    I’m not familiar with Dieter Roth’s music and this looks like a major investment. What would you consider as an ideal introduction to his work?

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