katya-house-group-bean-game-mafj-alvarezSaturday 19th October saw a few students from the MA Digital media arts course meeting up for Katya’s fabled strawberry cream cake and playing the bean game.

This time there were 5 people playing. Cindy, Nana, Katya, her daugher Silva (16) and her friend Katie, also 16.
We played a collaborative game where each player has a different coloured pen and 10 beans onto which they can write their own personal values as they stand at the moment.

The playing space created in itself an intersting dynamic as we played on 2 bits of joined up A3 paper on the floor. Hunching over such a low space was not the easiest altogether but provided an interesting position.

Words were drawn on beans and scores written on the back – this time 1-10 where 10 was the most valuable value.

Part way into playing the game, Cindy and Nana both dropped out. Cindy said that she preferred to play when she could focus on it better, as there was a lot going on around us. The kids were running amok with nerf guns and the dog walked over the paper every now and then. It wasn’t very conducive to concentration for sure. Nana preferred to join in with the nerf war so politely withdrew and picked up a gun.



What to do with the beans drawn down? they wanted their own ones back… why? they were their own values. This was really interesting. We decided that the beans on paper would be crossed out. This has never happened before. It left a curious emotion of loss. I felt sad for a while. After that things changed. The crossed out beans became a fertile ground for discussion. Were they to be respected and drawn around or not? did they become like ruins to be trampled over, lines ignored. We were ambivalent and changed our minds as the rest of us played on.

Those are my values – not yours

The other curious thing that happened was that the two 16 year olds Katie and Silva wanted to retain their own beans at the end. Because the game play forced them to give away beans to the other player when they decided which beans would be connected – this meant that inevitably they would be giving away some of their own values. This caused tension but ultimately some understanding about what the game was about. They agreed to help each other gain their own beans back but accepted that temporarily it was ok to

Exchanging values – compromise is inevitable

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