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Pedro Reyes: Melodrama and Other Games

Melodrama and Other Games. Participatory project at Sharjah Biennial 11, 2013, UAE. Presented at Bait Obaid Al Shamsi.
May 2013

[Text published in the catalog of SB11]

This collection of games includes new games as well as variations on existing ones. For every game, there is a poster - a visual poem that also works as a score/instruction/recipe for how to play.

Not long ago, the streets were a playground that was safe for children. Street games are one of the oldest forms of "social software”; they belong to the commons, and, through limited means, they provide a space for conviviality. Curiously, games are not passed from adults to children but from children to children, in a way that prevents their disappearance despite the increasing privatisation of leisure. Yet after a millennium of endurance, they are at risk of extinction. First came the car, then television, then video games and then - what is often feared to be the last nail in the coffin -mobile devices.

The aim of these posters is to remind us of certain games, and they can then be dispersed to others. They are given free of charge; the only price is to play the game. This is a warm-up phase in the recovery of the street and the courtyard as a realm for humans ratherthan machines.

General Rules

1 - Everybody who plays a game gets a poster.

2 - There is no limit to the number of games you can play.

3 - Even if nobody is watching, don't cheat! You can't take the poster unless you've played the game!

4 - For some games you need a partner; don't be shy about asking strangers to join you.

5 - Feel free to play the games inside or outside, but bring the props back to the space after playing.

6 - The fun doesn't stop here - you can play the games with your friends and family at home.


Pedro Reyes
* 1972 Mexico City, Mexico; lives there.
2002 BArch, Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico City.
Pedro Reyes examines the cognitive contradictions of modern life and proposes surprising solutions that are at the same time metaphorical and functional. His work addresses the interplay between physical and social space, making tangible the invisible geometry of interpersonal relationships and calling for political and economic participation. Less interested in critiquing institutions than in reimagining them, Reyes uses art as a way to encourage collective and individual agency and to establish a currency that can be applied to everyday practice in the face of human, political and ecological crisis. His works take a variety of forms, from penetrable vinyl sculptures inspired by organic or mineral formations that are both artworks and usable structures for reclining and socialising (Capulas, 2002-10) to a TV and short-film production based on the nineteenth-century debate between socialism and capitalism, featuring puppets of Karl Marx and Adam Smith I Baby Marx, 2009-12). At Documenta 13 (2012) , Reyes presented a continuing project called Sanatorium, a utopian "temporary clinic" designed to offer topical treatments for urban illnesses such as stress, loneliness and hyperstimulation.

© Text published in the catalog of Sharjah Biennial 11, 2013. Re-published with permission of the Sharjah Art Foundation.
© Photos: Haupt & Binder and Sharjah Art Foundation

Melodrama and Other Games. 2013
Participatory project
Mixed media, printed posters, various props
7 of the 10 posters presented were originally commissioned by the Liverpool Biennial and FACT, UK.
Venue: Bait Obaid Al Shamsi
Commissioned by Sharjah Art Foundation

Presented at Sharjah Biennial 11
13 March - 13 May 2013
United Arab Emirates

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