The post-modern power of bingo
Like many things in modern life, it’s the most traditional activities that can often provide the most enduring in terms of how they adapt to new trends. Whereas the latest digital activities can quickly be surpassed and forgotten, it’s the classic entertainment forms that seem to have lasting appeal. And the traditional gaming activity of bingo has shown increasing resilience and adaptability in the face of changing technological environments.
The game of bingo was thought to have been created in the 16th century in Italy, and since then it has enjoyed a widespread popularity across the globe due to its simple and fun gaming style. By allowing gamers to cross off a pre-assigned selection of numbers on a grid in accordance to the caller’s announcements, it provides an easy way for large amounts of people to play and win some lucrative prizes.
And whilst the game has become something of an institution in many towns and cities across the UK, recently it has gained a whole new audience through some surprising developments.
One of the most interesting areas in which bingo has entered the art world is through the Street Art Bingo Kickstarter project currently operating in Berlin. This aims to provide each user with an app on their smartphone that enables them to hunt down quality examples of graffiti in the German capital, and whilst doing so, increase their understandings of the origins and meaning behind the artwork on display.
The use of such digital methods of playing bingo mirrors the rising use of mobile devices to play bingo games on sites like Dream Bingo. This democratising use of technology has further provided new life for such gaming activities that have even seen the rise of special bingo nights being held in high-brow art hotels in Iceland.
The highly iconic bingo symbols of coloured balls and the bingo grid have also served to provide the artistic world with a great deal of inspiration. The acclaimed American artist Gordon Matta-Clark unveiled an impressive sculpture of wood, metal, plaster and glass in 1974 that he titled Bingo in honour of the bingo grid-like formation of building materials – possibly the first time that bingo has featured in the prestigious Museum of Modern Art in New York.
And similarly, the many connotations and symbologies associated with the activity of bingo are holding a world of artistic expression for many of the current generation’s art elite. For example, what’s the name of the current artistic punk-provocateur who’s storming the art world? Mr Bingo.