‘I don’t want to be innovative. Nor do I seek to be provocative, to create a spectacle or to entertain. I don’t wish to do anything that distracts from what I want to show: the meaning of abstract strategy games—and that they are beautiful, relevant and a source of inspiration. Only then it will be possible to change the perception of what abstract games are.’
‘Abstract games have always been full of meaning. They are universal and timeless. They are not linked to the evolutionary journey of all things. Designing this type of games is a process that is perpendicular to the passage of time but which moves with the present. It is like an archaeological act; it is the digging for new applications for precepts that cannot be changed nor improved, because these precepts stand for criteria that are unapproachably correct, fully distinct from concepts such as “old” or “new”. That’s why the conception of a abstract game must not be innovative, but revealing. It must shine light on the tip of the veil of both the archaic and futuristic character of the phenomenon that abstract strategy games are. I want to show that which the Belgian artist Mark Verstockt (1930–2014) describes in his remarks about geometric figures(1), namely that they are ‘so inspiring that one can inexhaustibly continue to vary them’, also goes for abstract games. However, with one notable difference: the principles of geometric figures are known, and those of abstract strategy games are not.’
‘From the beginning of the previous century certain artists started to develop an interest in what games represent. Marcel Duchamp was the first to systematically insert the game of chess in his artworks. To no surprise, for he was a passionate chess player. Then symbolists and surrealist saw in games a powerful symbol and/or metaphor, and a few decades later the members of the Fluxus movement were quite game-minded. Let's make that “table top game-minded”, for at that time there were no video and computer games yet. In 2015 there was an exhibition in Centre Pompidou in Paris, called “La beauté du jeu” — “The beauty of Games”. But, strangely enough, nothing of the exhibited material was playable in a way that would interest aficionados of table top games. There was not even one game that could be played like people play board games at home. So the heading of the exhibition was only representative if one was prepared to interpret it as: how artists make use of games as a medium to come up with works of art. The notion “game” means something completely different for most people, though. In other words: the exhibition revealed absolutely nothing of the beauty of what games are within the common conventions of play. For example: Yoko One made a completely white chess game, called “Play it by Trust” (1966). I agree, it is a beautiful work of art, but... it is unplayable. More over - if I may say so - it doesn’t even come close to the beauty of all the things that can happen on a chess board.’
‘For what concerns games(2), there is a big gap between the art community and the board game community. In general it could be stated that the way how artists make use of games as a conceptual given to derive artworks from and the reasons why art lovers appreciate their derivatives is of no interest for designers and players of board games, and what designers and players think of what a good board game should offer is of no interest for artists and people with a passion for art. I’m stuck in the middle of this paradox, because that is what it is to me. I love art as much as I love abstract games, and for me there is no doubt that each deep and rich abstract strategy game is an authentic work of art. Hence my intention is to walk back and forth, to the one community and back to the other, until there will be at least a path that connects the art circles with the abstract strategy game scene.’
(1) “The Genesis of Form: From Chaos to Geometry”, Mark Verstockt[/b], published by Frederick Muller Ltd (1987).
(2) To not make the matter more complex than it already is, I have left all that is digital out of my considerations.