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[Xmca-l] Re: Playing with/at TED



Lois,
I wonder if the following captures your meaning/sense of the word "play":

Play is an engagement with "the otherwise".
In a sense, play involves bringing irrealis into reality.

I really like this way of thinking about play (and I may be reading too
much into your understanding of play so please correct me if I've
misunderstood you). For me, this idea of play is much more applicable to
the lives of adults and it opens up lots of encounters to a play analysis.
I assume that this is what you mean when you say that the kids talking with
police are "playing"; they are engaged in a type of relationship and
interaction that is "otherwise" - it isn't part of the normal types of
conversation that one expects to happen.

This points up the fact that there are structured, expected relations that
we engage in as we go about our everyday lives. Lois, what you seem to me
to be pointing to is that play involves the transformation of these
expected relations, i.e. when "the otherwise" is realized in a moment of
interaction.

It seems that this is a rather unorthodox sense of play. I wonder if it
comes out of the fact that you work primarily with adolescents and adults,
"grown-ups" as we emically refer to them. It seems likely to me that play
is something very fundamentally different for grown-ups than it is for
children. Most Vygotsky inspired play researchers are looking at play in
toddlers and early childhood. So I am very excited by your work that brings
play into adulthood (and as Artin notes, there are others who do this but I
don't know how many theorize adult "play" as explicitly or as well as you
do).

It seems to me that somewhere in here is where David's problem lies (and
yours, to the extent that you are willing to share this burden with him).
He is pointing to the fact that "play" may be conceived in China as "lack
of restraint", and that is why Chinese say that they haven't played since
they were 2 year olds - they have primarily experienced restraint ever
since then (regardles of how they might be engaging "the otherwise" in
their everyday lives - even "teasing" could be a kind of engagement with
"the otherwise"). And David interestingly points to the fact that play has
a class dimension - it is what the poor kids do in the streets. That seems
like a notion of play that needs to be played with. And it seems to me that
this is precisely what you are interested in doing even as you accept their
definition of play for the sake of making your argument in the first place.

I think we could push even further still and point out that life is play in
a very real(!) sense. The taken for granted social worlds that we inhabit
and that we are trying to play with are, in the first place, play. And
yet, we often don't realize that they are play (recall Marx's "men" make
history but not of their own choosing). Additionally, once we call it
"play" we assume that it is "unreal" (cf. "social constructionism" lit of
the mid to late 20th century). Yet this play is a highly consequential form
of play because, well, there are "winners" and there are "losers", and the
consequence of "winning" or "losing" is dire (perhaps this is why the movie
Hunger Games strikes a chord with people today? b.c. they see the world
today, mid-recession, as akin to a fight to the death).

Anyway, hopefully there is a grain of sense in all of this play with play
(in play).

and please, let me know if I'm terribly off-base here...

Playfully,
greg




On Tue, Jun 24, 2014 at 7:51 AM, Lois Holzman <
lholzman@eastsideinstitute.org> wrote:

> Don't forget yourself, Artin!
> Lois
>
> Lois Holzman
> Director, East Side Institute for Group & Short Term Psychotherapy
> 104-106 South Oxford Street
> Brooklyn, New York 11217
> Chair, Global Outreach, All Stars Project, UX
> Tel. +1.212.941.8906 x324
> Fax +1.718.797.3966
> lholzman@eastsideinstitute.org
> Social Media
> Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter
> Blogs
> Psychology Today| Psychology of Becoming | ESI Community News
> Websites
> Lois Holzman | East Side Institute | Performing the World
> All Stars Project
>
>
>
> On Jun 23, 2014, at 7:09 PM, Goncu, Artin <goncu@uic.edu> wrote:
>
> >
> >
> > First, this is a quick note to say that I enjoyed Lois' talk, and second,
> > I enjoyed reading the responses to Lois' talk very much.  I also wanted
> to
> > add that there are others on this list who have been addressing some of
> > the important issues raised both in Lois' talk and in the responses to
> it.
> > For example, issues about play being a collective, dialectical, and
> > dialogic activity improvised in human interaction are examined by Tony
> > Perone, Carrie Lobman, Keith Sawyer, and others..
> >
> > All the best, ag
> >
> >
> > On Mon, June 23, 2014 11:58 am, Lois Holzman wrote:
> >> Thanks, Tom. (I tried.)
> >> And I didn't realize I forgot the link.
> >> All best,
> >> Lois
> >>
> >> Lois Holzman
> >> Director, East Side Institute for Group & Short Term Psychotherapy
> >> 104-106 South Oxford Street
> >> Brooklyn, New York 11217
> >> Chair, Global Outreach, All Stars Project, UX
> >> Tel. +1.212.941.8906 x324
> >> Fax +1.718.797.3966
> >> lholzman@eastsideinstitute.org
> >> Social Media
> >> Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter
> >> Blogs
> >> Psychology Today| Psychology of Becoming | ESI Community News
> >> Websites
> >> Lois Holzman | East Side Institute | Performing the World
> >> All Stars Project
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >> On Jun 23, 2014, at 11:19 AM, Tom Richardson
> >> <tom.richardson3@googlemail.com> wrote:
> >>
> >>> Thank you, Lois, for finding time for this thoughtful reply to the
> >>> threads
> >>> around your TED piece -a link to your 'What's developing is below:
> >>> http://vimeo.com/98797556
> >>> Tom
> >>>
> >>>
> >>> On 23 June 2014 16:01, Lois Holzman <lholzman@eastsideinstitute.org>
> >>> wrote:
> >>>
> >>>> Thanks to all who've watched the video and commented.
> >>>> Over the weekend I completed two weeks of PLAYING WITH a "small group"
> >>>> of
> >>>> psychologists/youth workers/educators from 5 countries who were in NYC
> >>>> for
> >>>> their final residency period with me and the Institute. I kept up with
> >>>> your
> >>>> posts but wasn't able to respond until now.
> >>>> I find the discussion fascinating in a few ways, which I will try to
> >>>> describe through commenting on what's been said/written.
> >>>>
> >>>> I greatly appreciated Tom's concern ("We need Play to evolve the next
> >>>> tranche of revolutionary strategy and
> >>>>> tactics, but Play alone will never arrive at the necessity for
> >>>>> revolutionary overthrow of capitalism") and further comment and
> >>>> subsequent expansion on this ("While I did not wish to attack or
> offend
> >>>> deliberately, I feel that the
> >>>> limitations of work within individual/small group relationships, no
> >>>> matter
> >>>> how creative, redemptive and transformative, cannot have that same
> >>>> effect
> >>>> upon the 500year-developed /developing reality which is modern
> >>>> bourgeois
> >>>> society. It is that sense of limitation which I attempted,
> >>>>> straightforwardly to convey").
> >>>>
> >>>>> Tom, I in no way felt attacked or offended.
> >>>>
> >>>>> I found Shirley and Helen's and Carol's versions of what I was doing
> >>>>> in
> >>>> the talk and what the activities I presented might be "about" very
> >>>> helpful
> >>>> and appreciated learning what they saw.  I was indeed trying to
> present
> >>>> something new to the audience, something that gave them the feeling
> >>>> that
> >>>> there was more "behind it" and that something was pretty unorthodox.
> >>>>
> >>>>> I suppose the key thing I can say in response is that I was speaking
> >>>> about play in a very particular way, as revolutionary. I was really
> >>>> pleased
> >>>> that the audience for the live presentation picked up on that and was
> >>>> excited by this new way of seeing. What I think revolutionary play is
> >>>> (in
> >>>> my talk I repeated what I mean by that several times—taking what there
> >>>> is
> >>>> and making something new, doing what we do not know how to do,
> relating
> >>>> as
> >>>> who we are/other than who we are at the same time) is a
> >>>> cultural-historical
> >>>> activity that creates development, and that all of us human beings
> need
> >>>> to
> >>>> develop if we are to have a shot at overthrowing capitalism. (For
> >>>> "theory"
> >>>> the most concise expansion of this might be All Power to the
> >>>> Developing.The
> >>>> position put forth in that article has generated lively dialogue, as
> it
> >>>> is
> >>>> not the most popular among Marxists.)
> >>>>
> >>>>> As I read some of the comments on my talk, it seems to me that how I
> >>>> understand play as revolutionary was not taken into account fully. By
> >>>> that
> >>>> I mean it seems like one's own understanding of play was substituted
> >>>> unaware. Perhaps this has something to do with Hue seeing play as
> >>>> "overdone" as well as David's commenting:
> >>>>> "One of the problems of Lois's talk is that it doesn't give us a very
> >>>> clear
> >>>> view of what play is not. But I would say that street kids talking to
> >>>> policemen about their fear of being gunned down in the street is a
> >>>> pretty
> >>>> good place to start. Lois herself recognizes in her talk that the
> >>>> conversations are not part of
> >>>> the play. But then we need to look at when and where the activity
> >>>> stopped
> >>>> being play, and above all why. Otherwise we rob "play" of all of its
> >>>> content."
> >>>>
> >>>> Sorry, David, if I was less than clear here. For me, the conversation
> >>>> was
> >>>> part of the play. The activity never stopped being play, as I
> >>>> understand
> >>>> it. The cops and kids were playing, in my sense of revolutionary play,
> >>>> as
> >>>> they were creating a conversation they had never had and perhaps could
> >>>> not
> >>>> were they not playing/performing...they were doing what was beyond
> them
> >>>> and
> >>>> creating something new together. I imagine you and others may not see
> >>>> it
> >>>> that way, but that's what I see.
> >>>>
> >>>> David's comments also highlight for me an aspect of perhaps different
> >>>> ways
> >>>> of approaching what it means to engage in the activity of
> >>>> understanding. As
> >>>> I read you, you need me to say what play is not and you also need me
> to
> >>>> pinpoint the beginnings and endings of something identified as play.
> >>>> It's
> >>>> that "is" that for me is the problematic term—it reads to me as
> >>>> pictorial
> >>>> and essentializing in reference to meaning. Apologies if I have
> >>>> misunderstood you. And while I don't mind playing being simultaneously
> >>>> the
> >>>> "leading activity" and the constant activity, I'm inspired by
> Vygotsky,
> >>>> not
> >>>> overdetermined by him.
> >>>>
> >>>> I'm very sensitive to how we speak/write to each other, however,
> >>>> especially when difference of opinion gets in the way or replaces
> >>>> curiosity
> >>>> to learn more about how come someone thinks/believes what they
> >>>> apparently
> >>>> do. And so I wish that we would be asking more questions of each
> >>>> other...
> >>>> and perhaps saying things in less absolutist and knowing terms.
> >>>>
> >>>> David (again) wrote:
> >>>> PS: Obviously, the teacher who claimed that their generation in China
> >>>> (my
> >>>> wife's generation) did not play after the age of two was just playing
> >>>> around with poor Lois. But that's no reason to play along...
> >>>>
> >>>> I "obviously" (and here it makes sense to use that word) cannot know
> >>>> your
> >>>> intention in writing what and how you wrote the above, as we cannot
> >>>> know
> >>>> each other's intentions. So I'll jump off from what you say and maybe
> >>>> help
> >>>> you see what I was trying to convey—75 teachers (not 1) told us in
> >>>> different ways/phrases that they hadn't played since they were very
> >>>> little
> >>>> children. They weren't making any claims, neither for themselves as
> >>>> individuals and certainly not for their generation. They were talking
> >>>> with
> >>>> us and sharing their experiences. I assume your wife has done the same
> >>>> with
> >>>> you, and that would be interesting to learn about.
> >>>>
> >>>> I'm off tonight to work in Frankfurt for the week, but if there is
> >>>> further
> >>>> conversation I will respond quickly.
> >>>>
> >>>> If any of you are interested in pursuing the topic of play and
> >>>> performance
> >>>> in our current context of capitalism's crisis, from my community's
> >>>> perspective, you can view an event, What Developing in a World in
> >>>> Crisis
> >>>> which begins with 9 people from 8 countries speaking to how they see
> >>>> the
> >>>> development challenges in their countries, followed by a conversation
> >>>> between me and a colleague, and then the audience.
> >>>>
> >>>> Again, thanks for including me, TED, play in your discussions,
> >>>> Lois
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>> Lois Holzman
> >>>> Director, East Side Institute for Group & Short Term Psychotherapy
> >>>> 104-106 South Oxford Street
> >>>> Brooklyn, New York 11217
> >>>> Chair, Global Outreach, All Stars Project, UX
> >>>> Tel. +1.212.941.8906 x324
> >>>> Fax +1.718.797.3966
> >>>> lholzman@eastsideinstitute.org
> >>>> Social Media
> >>>> Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter
> >>>> Blogs
> >>>> Psychology Today| Psychology of Becoming | ESI Community News
> >>>> Websites
> >>>> Lois Holzman | East Side Institute | Performing the World
> >>>> All Stars Project
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>>> On Jun 22, 2014, at 1:31 AM, mike cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:
> >>>>
> >>>>> I wonder what Lois thinks about all of this discussion that Peter
> >>>> started?
> >>>>> Mike
> >>>>>
> >>>>> On Friday, June 20, 2014, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >>>>> I agree completely with Tom's remarks. I remember that almost every
> >>>> summer
> >>>>> in Chicago between five and ten black children in the city would be
> >>>>> murdered by police for playing with toy guns. Consider this:
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>
> http://www.mintpressnews.com/us-police-murdered-5000-innocent-civilians-since-911/172029/
> >>>>>
> >>>>> To link this to the previous thread--I don't think that the article
> >>>>> "What
> >>>>> Theory is Not" has a workable definition of theory, and for that
> >>>>> reason I
> >>>>> found it little more than a list of complaints. But part of the
> >>>> dialectical
> >>>>> method is defining what things are by looking at what things are
> >>>>> not: transgressing that boundary is precisely what we mean when we
> say
> >>>> that
> >>>>> something is in the process of becoming what it is not.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> One of the problems of Lois's talk is that it doesn't give us a very
> >>>> clear
> >>>>> view of what play is not. But I would say that street kids talking to
> >>>>> policemen about their fear of being gunned down in the street is a
> >>>>> pretty
> >>>>> good place to start.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> Lois herself recognizes in her talk that the conversations are not
> >>>>> part
> >>>> of
> >>>>> the play. But then we need to look at when and where the activity
> >>>>> stopped
> >>>>> being play, and above all why. Otherwise we rob "play" of all of its
> >>>>> content.
> >>>>>
> >>>>> I think the same thing is true when we say that children play
> >>>>> constantly,
> >>>>> from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to bed (and
> >>>>> Vygotsky,
> >>>> of
> >>>>> course, says the opposite--play is a "leading" activity but for that
> >>>>> very
> >>>>> reason we cannot say it is the main activity).
> >>>>>
> >>>>> David Kellogg
> >>>>> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
> >>>>>
> >>>>> PS: Obviously, the teacher who claimed that their generation in China
> >>>>> (my
> >>>>> wife's generation) did not play after the age of two was just playing
> >>>>> around with poor Lois. But that's no reason to play along...
> >>>>>
> >>>>> dk
> >>>>>
> >>>>>
> >>>>> On 20 June 2014 06:03, Tom Richardson <
> tom.richardson3@googlemail.com>
> >>>>> wrote:
> >>>>>
> >>>>>> A fascinating and moving 14+minutes of Lois ....only how I wish that
> >>>>>> I
> >>>> did
> >>>>>> not subscribe to a class analysis which means that the last example
> >>>>>> of
> >>>> the
> >>>>>> 'kids of colour' and the NYPD is called into deep question - will
> the
> >>>>>> lethal divides of capitalism's "special bodies of armed men" from
> >>>>>> working-class citizens, (and of course it extends to imperialism's
> >>>>>> destruction of whole countries), be 'overcome' by Play. Lois'
> >>>> commitment
> >>>>>> and passionate intelligence almost lets me believe it might, but I
> >>>>>> know
> >>>>>> that I'm fooling myself.
> >>>>>> We need Play to evolve the next tranche of revolutionary strategy
> and
> >>>>>> tactics, but Play alone will never arrive at the necessity for
> >>>>>> revolutionary overthrow of capitalism, only, from Lois' examples,
> >>>>>> ultimately futile attempts at transcending class conflict,
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> Tom Richardson
> >>>>>> Middlesbrough
> >>>>>> UK
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>> On 19 June 2014 20:57, Carol Macdonald <carolmacdon@gmail.com>
> wrote:
> >>>>>>
> >>>>>>> Well Lois
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> That was splendid, awesome! All you serious XMCAers please watch.
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> Carol
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> On 19 June 2014 13:48, Lois Holzman <
> lholzman@eastsideinstitute.org>
> >>>>>>> wrote:
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>> Here's the link, Carol.
> >>>>>>>> http://tedxnavesink.com/project/lois-holzman/
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>> Lois Holzman
> >>>>>>>> Director, East Side Institute for Group & Short Term Psychotherapy
> >>>>>>>> 104-106 South Oxford Street
> >>>>>>>> Brooklyn, New York 11217
> >>>>>>>> Chair, Global Outreach, All Stars Project, UX
> >>>>>>>> Tel. +1.212.941.8906 x324
> >>>>>>>> Fax +1.718.797.3966
> >>>>>>>> lholzman@eastsideinstitute.org
> >>>>>>>> Social Media
> >>>>>>>> Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter
> >>>>>>>> Blogs
> >>>>>>>> Psychology Today| Psychology of Becoming | ESI Community News
> >>>>>>>> Websites
> >>>>>>>> Lois Holzman | East Side Institute | Performing the World
> >>>>>>>> All Stars Project
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>> On Jun 19, 2014, at 3:02 AM, Carol Macdonald <
> >>>> carolmacdon@gmail.com>
> >>>>>>>> wrote:
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>> Louis
> >>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>> Please could you send the link again?
> >>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>> Thanks
> >>>>>>>>> Carol
> >>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>> On 19 June 2014 01:03, Lois Holzman <
> >>>> lholzman@eastsideinstitute.org>
> >>>>>>>> wrote:
> >>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>> Hi All,
> >>>>>>>>>> Peter kindly posted a link to a talk I gave last month at a TEDx
> >>>>>>>>>> event--TEDxNavesink Play.
> >>>>>>>>>> Aside from the prep being among the hardest things I've ever
> >>>> done
> >>>>>>>> (staying
> >>>>>>>>>> within their rules and structure, not being academic but saying
> >>>>>>>> something
> >>>>>>>>>> new for people to think about, and more), it was a delight to be
> >>>>>> with
> >>>>>>>> folks
> >>>>>>>>>> who appreciate and value play--many of whom are affording
> >>>> people in
> >>>>>>>> their
> >>>>>>>>>> communities with the opportunity to play in all kinds of ways.
> >>>> It
> >>>>>> was
> >>>>>>>>>> really growthful for me and my team. I was really pleased to
> >>>>>> reconnect
> >>>>>>>> with
> >>>>>>>>>> Peter Gray after many years and to meet other good people. The
> >>>>>> one-day
> >>>>>>>>>> event was organized are 4 P's--possibility, pleasure, progress
> >>>> and
> >>>>>>>> paradox.
> >>>>>>>>>> I invite you all to include these talks within your conversation
> >>>>>>>> here--even
> >>>>>>>>>> though they're not theoretical. Maybe it's a new kind of play
> >>>> for
> >>>>>>> many.
> >>>>>>>>>> Lois
> >>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>> Lois Holzman
> >>>>>>>>>> Director, East Side Institute for Group & Short Term
> >>>> Psychotherapy
> >>>>>>>>>> 104-106 South Oxford Street
> >>>>>>>>>> Brooklyn, New York 11217
> >>>>>>>>>> Chair, Global Outreach, All Stars Project, UX
> >>>>>>>>>> Tel. +1.212.941.8906 x324
> >>>>>>>>>> Fax +1.718.797.3966
> >>>>>>>>>> lholzman@eastsideinstitute.org
> >>>>>>>>>> Social Media
> >>>>>>>>>> Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter
> >>>>>>>>>> Blogs
> >>>>>>>>>> Psychology Today| Psychology of Becoming | ESI Community News
> >>>>>>>>>> Websites
> >>>>>>>>>> Lois Holzman | East Side Institute | Performing the World
> >>>>>>>>>> All Stars Project
> >>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>> --
> >>>>>>>>> Carol A  Macdonald Ph D (Edin)
> >>>>>>>>> Developmental psycholinguist
> >>>>>>>>> Academic, Researcher,  and Editor
> >>>>>>>>> Honorary Research Fellow: Department of Linguistics, Unisa
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>> --
> >>>>>>> Carol A  Macdonald Ph D (Edin)
> >>>>>>> Developmental psycholinguist
> >>>>>>> Academic, Researcher,  and Editor
> >>>>>>> Honorary Research Fellow: Department of Linguistics, Unisa
> >>>>>>>
> >>>>>>
> >>>>
> >>>>
> >>
> >>
> >
> >
> > Artin Goncu, Ph.D
> > Co-editor, Mind, Culture, and Activity:An International Journal
> > Professor Emeritus,
> > University of Illinois at Chicago
> > College of Education M/C 147
> > 1040 W. Harrison St.
> > Chicago, IL 60607
> >
> >
>
>


-- 
Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology
883 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
Brigham Young University
Provo, UT 84602
http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson