Michael Martin, dean of Cogswell College, invited all students to attend a talk presented by Joe Wilcox and Scott Snibbe, two well known modern artists, about the “Future of Play” in our world today. It was hosted at the Tech Museum of Innovation, nested in the heart of Downtown San Jose which was very fitting for the talk since the museum is dedicated to the future of play through technological advances. The whole talk lasted no longer than about two hours, but in those two short hours the guests got to see some of the prior works of these two artists and hear their view on the topic at hand.
The two of them felt that play hasn’t really changed in the years that it has existed since they explained that play is a state of enjoyment and pleasure doing any one thing; getting lost in something you like to do. Mr. Wilcox continued more on that by bringing up the fact that today the play that we had 12 to 15 years ago is so different than today’s “re-invention” of play. To justify this claim of re-invention, he referenced the interaction between people and the play that would come of interactions and how it has changed today. He described that back when children and teenagers wanted to hang out or have some quality time together they would not have the luxury of texting or instant messaging. Instead they would have to plan it out ahead of time, call them through phone, or just go to their houses in person and see if they wanted to do anything. It was a bit harder to judge when or where a person would be without the connection tools of today, Mr. Wilcox went on to say, but it was still a way for people to interact face to face and still have that feeling of interaction.
He then moved to today’s reality that has the medium of the internet and cell phones to transfer information and provide alternate forms of play by means of video games, interactive applications, and lightning fast text messages. Both then went on to describe that these mediums, although helpful, distracts the real interaction that play needs to be enjoyed to its fullest since most of these new products need no one else to operate them than the user from the comfort of their own room. They made sure to remind everyone that they didn’t say these new advances in technology were bad, but to say that their influence was essentially “re-inventing” the definition of play in such a way that would mean less interaction outside of one’s household.
The night ended with a raffle, some thank you’s, and pictures to remember the event by. The whole experience was great and I really can’t wait until the next time The Tech holds another one of these talks. Plus, their view on “Play” got me to get out of the house that weekend to work out with friends, which I haven’t done in weeks. Looks like they have some truth to what they say!
Special thanks to our dean, Michael Martin for letting the students know about the meeting!
P.S. Here’s a picture of both Wilcox and Snibbe that I drew during the talk. I showed them from where I was sitting and they gave me a thumbs up. Even Mr. Snibbe said that it was good (although I think he was just being nice!).