I created a series of small dartboards that reflect each of Italo Calvino’s memos from his Six Memos for the Next Millennium, using different materials and techniques to create something reminiscent of each theme. Inviting audience participation also lent itself to the idea of vision through personal experience.
I was inspired by Calvino’s story of Kublai Khan from Invisible Cities, and the notion of a game as a journey with a meaningless outcome. I saw a lot of relations between his themes and the game of darts in particular. Playing darts requires accuracy, rhythm, precision, timing, and understanding of spacial relations. Winning relies on chance as much as knowledge gained through experience. Lastly, Calvino aims to deliver his own language “like an arrow,” a metaphor that I wanted to carry into this piece.
I set myself these constraints: Each board must have the same dimensions and any alterations may only be added to the surface. Each board must have a center point. Each board must be functional in that an audience may throw a dart into its surface. Each must be physical and handmade.
Next, I translated the same metaphors and themes into book covers, as seen at the top of the page.
The first concept deals with the fire to represent human passion. The second mimics Calvino's own back and forth argument style and hidden messages through the use of a pull tab. The title, author and image are only fully visible when the user participates by pulling the tab on the book cover. The last borrows from the imagery of the dartboards and Calvino's metaphor of the crystal to portray structure and balance.
I wanted to create a dartboard where the rules and lines hover above the board, so that one can hit only on empty space. This illusion was created from tiny pins holding up suspended thread. Lightness encompasses non-earthliness and an emergence from the weight of the oppressing physical world. I wanted to focus on the values of balanced forces, minimal conciseness, and do so in a way that is delicate, floating and indirectly visible.
For this dartboard, I represented time through the color of the sky. When a user lands on a specific segment, it is colored to match that time of day. Each number corresponds to an hour in military time. For example, the segment 13 is colored to match the sky at the hour one pm.
I hoped to express vagueness as the infinite by removing the colors and numbers and leaving even the dividing lines half-erased. Removing the center bulls-eye would render the game (or goal) as meaningless, leaving only hollow space as a target. Calvino speaks of the planning and precision required to express vagueness, and the indefinite as infinite. I hope that the void of the precise center mark could express this sense of infinite.
Calvino defines visibility in terms of the invisible, and what exists purely in the mind’s eye. Censoring the numbers of the dart game forces the audience to fill in the blanks based on their imagination and personal experience. The viewer’s interpretation depends more on individual knowledge than a universal form. Here, the recycled image re-imagined is the dartboard.
Calvino’s primary definition of multiplicity speaks of the infinite relationships of space and time. I retained the strict numeral system to signify the importance of order in chaos and the need for rules in order to create freedom. To represent this, I created a dartboard with many half-visible layers of overlapping vellum. Each layer contains all of the lines and the numbers, but would be rotated at a slightly different angle so that the sections would overlap. Participants are not be able to see the number aimed at, and likely hit many numerals at once, thereby implying the infinite.
I also designed a dart to match the theme of each board.
Each dart flight reads a four letter word, one letter per facet. Each flight also contains an opposing word simultanously on the facing facet, but staggered so that the antonym reads one step slower as the dart spins.
The words read as follows: