Kennexions, the Genius System, and Game Object Classes

I want to begin this post with an extended quotation from
Rob Wittig's book _INVISIBLE Rendezvous_, about IN.S.OMNIA,
or Invisible Seattle, as it was earlier called, a literary
circle centred in my fair city and inspired somewhat by the
Oulipo (them again?):

"...If I'm not to be a genius, then what is my role in the

"A realistic examination of the roles available in the
genius system shows that they are few and unequal. There is
the _Genius_ and its future and past forms: the _Wannabe_
and the _Hasbeen_. All that's left is the _Courtier_, that
necessary concomitant, that Enabler, that Codependent who
allows it all to happen by being the editor, the publisher,
the reviewer, the biographer, the long-suffering spouse or
lover. As in.s.omniac Ruebrick puts it,

'Isn't a genius like a Japanese Bunraku puppet? Behind the
brightly illuminated, lifelike, wonderful figure is a team
of puppeteers, dressed in black, hooded in black, who make
it all happen. The human being who shares name and face with
the puppet genius may indeed be the chief puppeteer, the one
who controls the figure's head, the right hand. But the
others are necessary for the whole trick to work.'
(IN.S.OMNIA 1990)

"Sadly, the genius system is often charged with fear,
haunted by the notion that there is only a fixed, small
amount of room in the spotlight at any one time. Those in
the dark are desperately jealous of those who occupy the
light and are miserable even once they reach the glare,
afraid of the younger ones to follow. This is the haunted,
aristocratic sleep of the sovereign who reigns, terrified,
in the sacred grove, waiting for the successor whose first
act must be assassination.

"For in.s.omniacs, relief from this gloomy prospect lies in
having discovered a multitude of other roles a writer can
slip into depending on the moment's chemistry of passion,
personality, and available time." (p. 140)


_INVISIBLE Rendezvous_ then goes on to detail the various
roles that IN.S.OMNIA/Invisible Seattle discovered or
invented: Literary Contractor, System Operator, Room
Coordinator, Lead Writer, Improvisator, Impersonator,
Heckler, Scholar, Skeet Puller, Listener, Designer,

Kennexions too has a multitude of classes of _lusores_
(players). To aid in their taxonomy, I have borrowed the
terms *object*, *object class*, and *object instance* from
object-oriented programming -- one might say that Kennexions
is an object-oriented game. Just as kenning expressions,
calligraphic representations, the game language, and so on
are considered game object classes and instances, so are the
lusores. The author (_auctor_) of the kennexion is as much a
game object as the kennexion itself. This allows the game
script (another object) to include stage directions for the
liturgical celebration of the game, considered to be
*operations upon* the game object of the performer. Even the
audience members (communicants) are considered to be game
objects, special types of lusores. This permits operations
upon the audience, meditation instructions for them, say, in
the manner of contemporary peformance art or the Castalian

Incidentally, there are at least two kennexions in the above

  Genius : Courtiers :: bunraku puppet : puppeteer team

  Genius : rival celebrity :: reigning sacred king : assassin-king

Is Kennexions, as Hesse said the Castalian Game was at one
point, discovering a sense of itself? This bears on the
question we have discussed before on Magister-L of whether
or not a game can be conscious....



Gamemaster - the designer of the gameform in question. For
Kennexions, the current Gamemaster is Ronald Hale-Evans.
Other Gamemasters for Kennexions may join later, and of
course each gameform included in the _supergame_ has its own

Auctor - the author or composer of the central kennexion or
kennexions, the chief basis for the game instance.

Compilator - a scholar in charge of tracking down sources
for objectivated materials used within the game.

Commentator - someone who adds commentary in the form of
footnotes or hypertext links to the game, explaining the
game as it unfolds.

Critic - similar to a commentator, but more or less
independently comments on the quality of the game as well as
the reasons for the aesthetic choices therein.

Graphic Artist - produces graphic art of some kind linked
with the game, particularly the *pictura* or *icon* of the
emblem (q.v.)

Scriptor - a graphic artist who specialises in producing a
calligraphic representation of the central part of the game
(the kennexion or *inscriptio* of the emblem) in BELL (q.v.)

Source - the creator of the art, science, philosophy,
religious work, etc., from which a kennings or other game
object is drawn. Also, the work itself. "To s." means to
footnote the game with a reference to the s..

Composer - the creator of the *emblematic music*. May be a
*source* or a c. who assists in creating the game instance.

Musician - a performer of the emblematic music.

Programmer - creator of the computer programs necessary to
perform or support the game (for instance, a dictionary
program which returns a BELLE (q.v.) when an alphanumeric
Lojban string is entered -- planned).

Celebrant - the principal performer of the game. Analogous
to a priest performing a Mass, a band leader, or a
conductor. Often the same as the auctor and/or scriptor.

Communicant - a member of the audience. The word
"communicant" is used rather than "audience member" because
participation of a ceremonial sort is required. In most
games, as mentioned, there are meditation instructions and
other operations upon (instructions to) the communicants and
other lusores.

Collaborator - None of the above roles need be performed by
a single lusor, but may be performed by any number of
lusores in concert, in which case they are known as
co-auctors, co-scriptors, etc..


For reference:


BELL - Bliss-Encoded Logical Language, the glyphic conlang
used in Kennexions in emulation of the Castalian Game. It
consists of grammatical Blissymbolics/Semantography
expressions representing _gismu_ (root words) in Lojban,
enclosed in cartouches and combined in special ways.

BELLE - BELL Expression, a "phrase" or "sentence" of BELL.

emblem - This was formerly called the "telesmatic
presentation", but as there is a precedent for it in
alchemical "emblem books", I chose to rename it with this
term. An *emblem* consists of several parts, which follow:

*inscriptio* or *lemma* - the kenning expression (kennexion)
or expressions used as the main part of the game.

*pictura* or *icon* (was "telesmatic image") - a
representational graphic element that symbolically embodies
the subject of the *inscriptio*.

*subscriptio* or *epigram* (was "telesmatic lyric") - a
brief poem that clarifies and explains the *pictura*.

I know of at least one Renaissance emblem-book, _Atalanta
Fugiens_, which includes short musical scores for each
emblem as well as inscriptio, pictura, and subscriptio,
making a true multimedia presentation! In fact, one can now
buy a translation of the book with a cassette tape of the
music. Kennexions also incorporates music:

*emblematic music* (for want of a better term; was
"telesmatic music") - music accompanying the other parts of
the emblem.

supergame - a game instance of the GBGBG (Great Big GBG)
which includes linked games in other gameforms.

                            *** FIN ***

More soon! Comments eagerly requested...

Ron Hale-Evans
Founder, Center for Ludic Synergy
Gamemaster, Kennexions
Charter Member, Bamboo Garden of Seattle

Kennexions GBG | Center for Ludic Synergy

Ron Hale-Evans

Last modified: 23 September 1999