Treasure-Hunting, Conversation and Chance

Game-Playing through Artistic Encounters

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Art practice and gallery visiting have been discussed in the context of ‘play’ by cultural theorists, anthropologists, psychologists, art historians and artists alike.Nicolas Bourriaud in his seminal book Relational Aesthetics (2002) asserts that,‘artistic activity is a game,’1 while Michael Baxandall noted in 1991 that each of the three elements essential to the artistic encounter – the artist, artwork and viewer– ‘is playing […] a different game in the field.’2 Since the 1960s, art has continued to challenge the viewer in their role as mere ‘beholder,’ encouraging playful interaction between artist, artwork and audience. Contextualised at the outset through Tacita Dean’s Trying to Find the Spiral Jetty,3 this chapter considers those artworks which incorporate elements of chance, and which present a ‘hide and seek’ pursuit on the part of the viewer, mediated through the works’ specific material properties and manner of display. It explores a selection of artworks whose conceptual identity is underpinned by – and vacillates between – their state of being ‘hidden’ or ‘concealed’, and/or ‘revealed.’ They are works which entice the viewer to participate in a journey of discovery evocative of a treasure-hunt, while also enabling the possibility that the works might be discovered through an ‘act of folly.’4 Here, the artistic encounter pivots between the incidental and intentional, and the artwork-audience relationship is made to acknowledge its own playful performativity.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPlay of Individuals and Societies
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherInter-Disciplinary Press
Pages47-58
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781848883277
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Fingerprint

Artwork
Treasure
Hunting
Viewer
Artist
Art
Spiral
Cultural Theorists
Interaction
Relational Aesthetics
Pursuit
Anthropologists
Nicolas Bourriaud
Tacita Dean
Performativity
Material Properties
Journey
Art Historians
Beholder
Michael Baxandall

Cite this

Powell, A. (2015). Treasure-Hunting, Conversation and Chance: Game-Playing through Artistic Encounters. In Play of Individuals and Societies (pp. 47-58). Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press.
Powell, Anna. / Treasure-Hunting, Conversation and Chance : Game-Playing through Artistic Encounters. Play of Individuals and Societies. Oxford : Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2015. pp. 47-58
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Powell, A 2015, Treasure-Hunting, Conversation and Chance: Game-Playing through Artistic Encounters. in Play of Individuals and Societies. Inter-Disciplinary Press, Oxford, pp. 47-58.

Treasure-Hunting, Conversation and Chance : Game-Playing through Artistic Encounters. / Powell, Anna.

Play of Individuals and Societies. Oxford : Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2015. p. 47-58.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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Powell A. Treasure-Hunting, Conversation and Chance: Game-Playing through Artistic Encounters. In Play of Individuals and Societies. Oxford: Inter-Disciplinary Press. 2015. p. 47-58