Building Fun is Different from Building a Palace
This was it. After half a year of creative sculpting, the scene of the urban sprawl was set, the hidden lore pinched away in surprising corners of the map, and the system was up and running – ready to open its gates to millions of incoming Funsters.
Immediately, people died. That’s what happens when spawn is set atop a dimly lit 12 story-building of the “Lost Cities” neighborhood. Nonetheless, after a few deaths some players were able to traverse down and across the sprawl to the Three Mills Island.
One by one, players arrived at the behemoth feeling somewhat more lost than when they mazed through the Lost Cities. In the middle of industrious London (just look around at our factories, Victorian homes, and gasometers)… what was this mega-factory doing, and why are they no machineries?
Nervously, a few players danced around the edges of the Palace, some waltzing through the steel pillars, a few gliding across the glacier-like concrete, accustoming to the *scale* of the project just as their computer’s RAMs rendered its way for a two-handed-hug of the Palace.
Prior to the server launch, our discord server welcomed keeners to immerse within the 60s – our 60s of the Fun-Palace-London – music numbers, photographs of Londoners taking the underground, commercials, and The Night of the Living Dead (of course) bubbled our bath in waiting. Not long after, these histories were ready to become the biographies of our players. People wanted to start building.
An Allegorical Arrest
This was no easy task, though.
As if a call back to the local Church and the School board of 1964, the only thing larger than the palace itself was the question of what it would have taken to occur inside of the Fun Palace to match its scale?
A large part of why we left the Palace as blankly looking as it was, truthfully, was because it was easier to allegorize something you already knew. London in poverty? Think back: industrial revolution lessons in history classes. A sprawling urban city? Montreal’s busy enough. Hungry and busy people? Three words: We’re in University.
Even the Victorian pumphouse — The Abbey Mills Pumping Station — situated right across the site of the Fun Palace was enjoyable for one of our members, Gina Haraszti, who built and modded blocks for it. Simply, we were building with pre-existing allegories.
Thus, the Fun Palace – which was never built – became something than required more effort. We weren’t just building from allegories, we were allegorizing our builds whilst they were being built!
Any Minecraft player knows, upon joining a multiplayer server (least of all a modded one), the dire task of building an idea before an idea is built.
“What do I see here?”
“Where would be a good place for this?”
“How do I represent this?”
And then, “what blocks do I need to signify this idea within Minecraft?”
Et viola, that was the Allegorical Build (Wershler & Simon 2021) in 4-piece dialogue.
Building Allegories around the Build
“Brokenness is the precondition for learning“, wrote Bart Simon and Darren Wershler. If it was tough to allegorize the vague ideas surrounding a build, build the allegory around it! So then, we turned to research-creation:
1. Richy Srirachanikorn, looking to the CCA’s archived notes and letters of Cedric Price, combined the telegraph of the past with information of the future to-be-released Minecraft Fun Palace.
2. Angelica Calcagnile and Bart Simon, upon discovering the inflatable portions of the Fun Palace in its diagrams, bounced into action by modding and deploying the first Inflatable Blocks on-site.
3. Gina Haraszti captured a tantalizing Fun Palace with her Strange(ly) Love(ly) teaser… luring Funsters to FIGHT THE MOBS OF POST-WAR CAPITALISM from the socialist playgrounds of the Fun Palace.
When one looks at the effort put into the building of new allegories around an archived-away, long-gone allegory — it can argued that the Fun is already established. Now, all that’s left is the building of the Palace itself.
Let the games begin.