NET/TEN Shareback: Cory Tamler - Playing With Collaborative Structures

Fall 2012 Seed Grant Recipeint

Cory Tamler (New York, NY) and Yinzerspielen participated in a series of topic-based e-meetings with Turbo Pascal, an ensemble in Berlin, Germany. Their conversations examined how ensemble-based theatrical explorations can be fostered over the Internet. The two groups also met in Berlin to advance their collaboration. 



Cory provided NET with a gamebook for young collaborations and evolving collectives based on her work with Yinzerspielen and Turbo Pascal.

These games are intended for:

• Groups that work collaboratively
• Groups that are interested in working collaboratively
• Collaborators who work over distance
• Two collectives/groups in the early stages of collaboration
• Collectives that have identified the need for structural shifts

…and others for whom collaboration, with all its particular challenges and rewards, is necessary or desirable. Though the games are grounded in a tradition of theatrical play, they were developed as responses to the challenges of collective/collaborative work as identified through conversations with individuals in fields as diverse as publishing and dance, education and missions work.




Amateur Oracle

Found objects and structures become oracles with something important to say about players’ futures.

Can be used by: Groups/collectives of individuals

Addresses: Goals and trajectory; group vocabulary building; group dynamic; ways each person sees the whole

Long distance or local?: Local 

Prep: Pick a site that’s likely to provide you with plenty of material and space to wander (a public park, community garden, construction site…). A mixture of natural and man-made objects is ideal. (Optional: Identify, broadly, topics/issues you want to address when it comes to the future of players’ collective, collaboration, or individual careers.)

Play: As a group, players wander the game site. Any player may at any time stop the group, point out an object/collection of objects/structure etc., and ask the group, “What does this say about my future?” or “What does this say about our future?” or “What does this say about Patrick’s future?” As a group, the players analyze the oracle to discover its message. The message can change/evolve.

PLAYER A: (indicating a wide field of long grass marked off by yellow CAUTION tape) What does this say about our future?
PLAYER B: From this level, from eye level, it just looks like a bunch of tall grass…
PLAYER C: Because it’s hard for us as a collective to see what we’re doing right now, we’re too close.
PLAYER B: When you fly above the field, though, or you’re a bird looking down, it makes a pattern, from above, it’s got a message.
PLAYER A: What is it?
PLAYER B: I don’t know, you would have to fly over it. It means that when we’re able to look at ourselves from farther away—
PLAYER C: —in the future—
PLAYER B: —things will start making more sense, they’ll be clear…

• Is this Art or is this the Future?: Widen the possibilities of play by allowing players to ask about an object/structure, “Is this art?” Then the group analyzes the object in question to decide whether it’s art or trash (or, possibly, still an oracle instead). This can make the game feel even more playful and allows players to get to know one another’s aesthetic sensibilities in a low-key way.
• This game can be played at the same time as another game or exercise that requires walking, open space, etc. In fact, it often works best this way, since there’s less pressure on players to “force” themselves to find an oracle. It can also be an ongoing exercise, one that becomes part of your collective’s vocabulary.
• Long-distance variation: Participants, meeting on a video chat interface, find objects close to them—anything they can pick up without exiting the room or leaving the video screen for longer than 15 seconds—and “show” them to other chat participants. Together, the chat participants analyze each object as an oracle. 


TP Dealbreakers Meeting - Objects from Yinzerspielen on Vimeo.





An updated list of games will appear at:

Do you have games or exercises to contribute? Email Cory at  

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Friday, August 2, 2013

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