At the SCOS conference next week I am presenting a study by Claudia Schnugg and myself. The paper is about musicians and how they play being musicians. The game of playing a part, just as they play music. The paper should be seen as a play with theses concepts, seeing what will come out of it.
“Your job is to live the fantasiser other only dream about. Don’t go in half-heart. Dream big. Live the life.” (Drummer A.C. in Rock Star, Warner Bros. 2001)
It has been argued that we humans are the homo ludens, that we a playing being that is both formed by these actions; just as we have formed society through playing. Huizinga (1950/1955) classical exploration of play and society present a trajectory where many (if not most) aspect of society are result of playful interactions at one point. Although play had an important role in forming society Huizinga argue that play now have been relegated to separated spheres, magical circles with no relation to ‘real life’. These thoughts were further developed by Callois (1958/2001) in categorizing play and game that further strengthened both the importance and marginalization of play in social life.
The magic circle is in effect not broken; because there has never existed any separation between play and seriousness in the first place. This is a construction to facilitate the imagination that the outside is real, through the construction of an ‘unreal’ sphere. While in reality(sic) play and seriousness all takes place in a simulacra – a simulation without a source (Baudrillard, 1994) where reality has played out its role. In the words of Asplund (1987, 64) “Game is organized play. Which means that game is no longer play. Game is organized social responsiveness. Play is responsiveness, plain and simple. [translated from Swedish]”. Categorization of play thus serves no purpose but to fragmentize and artificially separate that which is feeding on each other.
The aim of this paper is to analyse organizing actions through a play and game framework (Huzinga, Callois, Sutton-Smith, Baudrillard etc.). It has been argued that play always has been part of contemporary work (Costea et al., 2005), something that especially could be observed in the dot.com companies in the early 21st century, our perspective is that all organizing acts can be understood as a form of play and game. Not only those where the objects themselves proclaim themselves as playing. For this paper we turn to the music industry, in Sweden and Austria, where the performance of music is highly loaded with play elements, as the initial citation suggest. We argue that more acts, then the obvious stage performance, could be understood as play and game; made sense of in this analytical frame.