Rules, Games, Theories

These essays are from the catalog of "The Rules of the Game | The Game of the Rules." They attempt to frame the constellation of game, software and political allegory that were at the center of that project. An edition of 100 copies of the catalog were printed and distributed at the Whitney ISP exhibition at Artist Space.

The Game Of Life

If life were a game, what game would it be? Certainly not the game of all possible games. And not Magister Ludi 's Glass Bead Game: the aesthetic athletics of the intellect.[1] It must rather be either war or race; in either case, it is a contest.

Not the Only Game in Town

Experiments which aim to queer the rules of the game foreground the conventionality of rules, the arbitrariness of rules, the relationship of agency to rule making,  the location of changing rule sets within the diachrony of history, and the aesthetic nature of rules and rule making. They strive to

Game Theory

The idea of a theory of games arises in the middle of the twentieth century. What the science promised was a way to model and predict economic and political behavior that was assumed to follow the rational choices of individual actors.

Computer Game: Play Station

Rules connect the world of games to the province of computation; rules are the mechanism of both domains. On the side of the machine, there is no fraught social predicament where adherence to rule is subject to a contest of will: computers follow rules as long as they are inscribed in the logic of the machine.


This game models the self-amending rule set that is the basis of the American legal system. Suber, a logician, was interested in the paradoxes that arise in a system where logical contradictions inside of a self-amending rule set cannot be straightforwardly resolved.

Super Imposition

Observe that even without a grid, the rooms you now inhabit are partitioned and assigned specific uses. How have these been determined and allotted? How is that one corner has become the territory of a certain artist, and one wall, the domain of another? This exhibition was "designed"; that is, the space was divided up and allocated to the participants.

Disposition of the Space

Ever since the enclosing of the commons, there seems to have been a tendency for all grouped uses of space to reenact that tragedy on a petty scale. We have so well unlearned the communal use of space, that it is practically inconceivable; its laws and its rights are lost. Space is received by a group as a whole and in common, but its use is understood as individual and exclusive.

Contest: War and Peace

There is a new archive of photography, and the photograph itself is changed. The archive is the structured columnar accumulation of endless banality to which any- and everyone contributes, and from which we all can also retrieve at will, and through those same worn channels, not just the singular image, but a stream of categorical similitude.

Game Board

The rule exists as a social given, like language, that precedes our presence and conditions our participation as the horizon of social legibility. Apprehension of convention in this manner, as fixed and immutable, suspends us in the place of the other, somehow outside of the history of consensus-making, and outside of the political, and therefore, merely subject to it.