This game is inspired by the critique of Modernism as an inherently contradictory and flawed logic in Learning from Las Vegas by Robert Venturi. The problem with Modernist logic, according to Venturi, is that it tries to use physiognomy to denote, rather than connote, meaning. The perfect Modernism uses structural form that signifies specific inherent meaning — but this is a complete oxymoron, since structural form can’t possibly contain inherent meaning without symbolism, which is perfect Modernism’s worst enemy. So, there really is no perfect Modernism, only chaotic Modernism, which uses physiognomy to connote meaning — in other words, structural form that pretends to signify specific inherent meaning, but instead uses symbolism to signal general meaning.
In this game, the player is the zombie Modernist trying to find their way to the perfect Modernism, by collecting inherently virtuous materials. But, these inherently virtuous materials (that give you points) are indistinguishable from “ugly and ordinary” Postmodernist obstacles, because in the end, all materials end up being “ugly and ordinary”. It’s an endless game for the Modernist striver — how far will YOU get before submitting to the Bricolage of Denotative Symbolism?
- Robert Venturi,
Learning from Las Vegas