Thursday, 5 July 2012
From Bauhaus to My House
A major UK retrospective on the didactic European art group that coagulated around Walter Gropius in Berlin at the end of the Great War may at first sight seem to have little to do with Ancient wargaming. However, one of the major figures in the group was painter and instructor Johannes Itten, an eccentric Swiss who as well as forcing his students to eat vast quantities of raw garlic also lectured them on the importance of play, insisting that at least a month each year be spent designing games (Paul Klee spent his time making puppets out of beef bones and old electrical plugs - a system later copied by Dixon Miniatures for their ACW range. Allegedly).
Itten believed that all creative activity stemmed from play and that when adults lost sight of that they stopped producing original or interesting work. We might apply that to our hobby too. It seems to me that too many people shy away from the game element of wargaming - fearful no doubt of being accused of "playing with toy soldiers" - and that when they do stagnation inevitably follows.