Playing with Wonders: Objects, Role-Playing Games, and the Cultural Legacy of Bispo do Rosário for the City of Rio de Janeiro
Keywords:cultural heritage, role-playing games, Bispo do Rosário, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
We know that objects shape thought, as bearers of meaning and as the focal points of memory. Our question as artists and larpwrights was how those objects might affect the act of thinking itself. From this initial thought, we developed the notion of Living Objects — elements created to cause people to have strange new ideas and awaken thoughts beyond those prompted by reason alone — and sought to employ them in the micro role-playing games we presented to people in Rio de Janeiro in order to stimulate such an exploration of fantasy, desire, and daydreaming. The theoretical underpinning of our work relies upon the recovery of wonder discussed by critics like Kareem, Brain, and others. Within this endeavor, we presented Living Objects as fragments that provide a joke (witz). Witz is a concept explored by the Jena Romantic philosophers, in which poetic fragments of words influence thought or cause strangeness in normal ways of thinking, and cause derangement in the current logic. With this, they enable new creative paths for imagination.
In doing so, we drew upon the cultural heritage of the city of Rio de Janeiro, especially the art of Bispo do Rosário, who produced a number of distinctive artistic objects during the decades that he was a patient in a psychiatric hospital. And in this work, we focus especially on a piece called “The Presentation Cloak.”
These objects are central elements of micro role-playing games that we created
to encourage people to experience the stories linked to the life of Bispo do Rosário and the spaces he imagined about Rio de Janeiro. These games also inspired the participants to create stories from these objects, realizing how the influence of these elements stimulates imagination, belief in wonder, and immersion in the cultural universe created by Bispo do Rosário.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Rian Rezende, Denise Portinari
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