It seems as though Flusser began to think inventively about games at the point he began to think about language games (Wittgenstein). A very incomplete but suggestive survey of what he eventually called games would include philosophy, photography, the German language, and science. And there’s chess, of course, a philosophic staple, and often a helpful point of orientation for the reader. He seems to set the idea of games near the foundation of the overall project, namely a theory of communication. That is, games become something like fields of agreement between “players” (in quotation marks because there must be something you can do with a game like language besides play it!). A game involves a recognition of certain relationships between human beings or their representatives — tokens, avatars, or even “memories” (“memories don’t have to be human).  That creates an edge or boundary between the inside and outside of a game: everyone “inside” agrees — whether consciously or not — recognises and is recognised by other insiders;  everyone “outside” could, potentially at least, see that “it” is a game: there is an outside. Flusser pinned his hopes for human freedom on the spaces between games — “translation”.

Author: Nancy Roth