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Imaginary Toys: A Glass Axis Juried Exhibition

December 5th, 2013

IMAGINARY TOYS: A Glass Axis Juried Exhibition On View: December 5, 2013 – February 27, 2014 

In the spirit of the Holiday Season and the joyous feeling children get when they see the sparkle of a new toy, the year-end Glass Axis exhibit plays with the concept of imagination: playing, creating, learning and visualizing. Toys have always been an important part of being human, whether using found objects from nature or the elaborate technological toys of today. Some toys have been an important part of growing up for centuries. Archeological sites of all the major civilizations have revealed a variety of toys that children even now continue to enjoy, such as dolls, animals, whistles and even yo-yos. Of course, there are games that historians have discovered in all societies, which not only help to develop formal interactions between individuals, but also to explore expression and imagination. Today, we know the importance of toys for children in learning both physical and mental skills. Infant toys often focus on bright colors, recognition of shapes, sounds and different textures. Toys as a means for social development have led to conversations about questions of gender, cultural roles, age appropriate subjects, and even violent imagery. Philosophers and social critics discuss issues of ethical and cultural narratives, regarding how children are taught to adapt to what a society designates as appropriate interaction and belief systems. Philosopher and theologian, James Carse, wrote a book called Finite and Infinite Games. He defines games as “Finite” as those with specific end goals and rules as boundaries to play within. Many games tend to be this way, like baseball, football, or Monopoly. The goal of these games is to have winners and losers. He carries this thinking further into social, economic, and political situations where the goal is for one individual or group to win. Carse suggests that the most rewarding games are “Infinite”. These games are played with the goal not to have a specific end, nor to result in losers. Think of children that find ways to keep extending a game, because they do not want it to end or for someone to lose. Imagine in our everyday interactions, and the “games we play”, when the goal is not to win over someone, group, or country: The goal is to keep playing.

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