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games

Camouflage
Etymology: Camouflet, a military powder charge. Camoufler, to disguise oneself, perhaps with criminal intent. Sometimes mistakenly conceived as “blending in,” camouflage achieves its objectives by disrupting visual fields and fragmenting their boundaries. New Hampshire eccentric Abbot H. Thayer noticed the phenomenon of “counter shading” (against background) in animals and established the conceptual basis for military camouflage. Picasso, accusing camouflagists of plagiarism, captured the parallel between camouflage’s rise and the collapse of representation in twentieth century art practice. Ironically, through its disruptions, camouflage fosters mediation, connectivity, integration, and engagement, blurring boundaries between bodies, species, environments, and cultures. Military camouflage, now digitally designed, is offered in dozens of styles, each tailored to the needs of a specific regional conflict. But in streets, galleries, and fashion houses, camouflage is accessorized as accoutrement of critique and resistance.

Counterpoint
Different melodic lines heard simultaneously identify counterpoint. Derived from the Latin punctus contra punctus, it is point against point, note against note, idea against idea. Counterpoint matches horizontal lines into vertical harmonies, creating dimension. Counterpoint germinates polyphony. Augmentation, diminution, doubling, inversion, and intervals define relationships between different lines. Alteration, extension, and fusion transform motives. Discords produce tension. Dissonance resolves into consonance. Inventions, fugues, and canons exemplify counterpoint with their rhythms, modulations, episodes. Contours and climaxes shape counterpoint. The music of Bach, Bartok, Schoenberg, Reich, Hindemith, Mozart, Brahms, Piazzolla imbeds counterpoint. Polyphony spans the globe: West African drumming, Indonesian gamelan, Argentine tango, Indian bhangra, laptop remix. Counterpoint also spells argument—pushing against the dominant, the assumed, the accepted. A contrapuntal position releases us to see, hear and invent fresh meanings and radical structures.

Games
Games are sports. Games are conceptual environments. Games spin dialectics between competition and collectivity, interaction and immersion. The ludology/narratology wars pit process against story. Games fuel fun and flow. Games conjure liminal zones. Bounded by space and time, game players torque rules and components. Through movement and climax, games create imaginary and real places exempt from quotidian routines. Whether in words, wars, boards, cards, courts, virtualities, fields, ecologies, computers, or minds, games mobilize abstract strategies and risk. Games demand competition, bluffing, teams, winning and losing. Doping, drills, cheating, technique, training, and algorithms precede games. Disappointment, exhilaration, injuries and rehabilitation follow games. While gaming, players constantly interface with the aleatory. Games sublimate the destructive into controlled exhilaration. In their most emancipatory modes, games enact the ecstatic erotics of the collective.

Gastronomica
Constituted by multifarious chemical compounds--sugars, proteins, carbohydrates, salts, and fats--food is the essence of environmental tangibility and provides the material foundations of life. But food spawns all things gastronomic, the refinements and complexities of cuisine, with attendant implications for taste, nutrition, family, community, and identity. Gastronomica connotes multiple divisions of labor, sweeping political economies, ravaging famines, heterogeneous ethnicities, hidden histories, complex systems of production, vast regimes of regulation, daunting genetic manipulations, mountains of cookbooks, and billions in advertising. The subject of movements, fetishes, and endless medical speculations, gastronomica’s meanings are imbedded in its specificities: arugula, guava, caviar, Big Mac, kidney pie, sushi, glug, mee goreng, borscht, matzo, pop corn, white bread, vegemite, mămăligă, jalapeno, barbeque, ghee. See you at the: supermarket, diner, four-star, corner bar, taco stand, coffee shop, banquet hall, grab-and-go, farmers’ market, or Saturday matinee.