[Shakti] “Are we playing to win?” – Thoughts from visit to The Point

For all my knowledge, smarts, and degrees and education, I am no less likely to get arrested than a drug dealer from across the street. And that’s our justice system right there.

– Quote from Awesome Person at The Point

I had to start with that quote, because it struck me like no other quote during our discussions. The cycle of prejudice, racism, sexism are all perpetuated by stereotypes. And the victim groups react, react and react. The most interesting part of our discussions was when we were able to actually look solutions to existing problems. How do we address problems within our society by making it a point to also understand the root — the various elements that contribute to an individual situation?  How do we equip our police with the right skills to deal with individual situations? How can we play to win? Can change only occur on a spiritual level for it to make a real-life difference?

How do we as designers design an intervention that ties “us” vs “them”, or basically, two groups together? What do both groups go through that could be used as a basis for commonality? What’s a deeper connection between these two groups that could bind them together? How does a designer even go about creating an intervention where this “deeper connection” can come into play? Some successful examples of this in play – when two groups are asked to play each others’ roles.

One thought on “[Shakti] “Are we playing to win?” – Thoughts from visit to The Point”

  1. Shakti I think you got right to the heart of the inquiry with this question: “How do we as designers design an intervention that ties “us” vs “them”, or basically, two groups together? What do both groups go through that could be used as a basis for commonality?”

    In my brief experience, its been good to start small. Where a small group of people from very different backgrounds get together for a shared purpose (often, to ‘do something about an issue’); and do something that makes them all equally vulnerable, that’s also fun, like swapping / reenacting personal stories. So that people feel they’ve both expressed & been heard, and trust each other enough to come back the next week(s). That, plus music & shared meals seem pretty important. In this way, we’ve been able to make our own little temporary autonomous zones (Hakim Bey’s term).

    For me, mutual vulnerability & risk has always been key. For the DonQ project, Sable, Shaun and I (project initiators), did all the story / games along side everyone else, where the “games” were mediated enough for people to disclose indirectly or directly, and still have fun. So in short, I would say its something like equal shared risk + fun + creativity + food + keep showing up = making something cool looking, where people are astonished that their voice or input could result in “wow that’s awesome.”

    Oh, and the awesome person at The Point is named Earl Skinner. And yes he is indeed super awesome.

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