Dotto (originally titled 'Thirty Something' after a TV series exploring the lives of 30 year olds) was a game invented to celebrate our 3rd decade 1998-2008. We started playing it in 1998 and played on until we left the building for redevelopment in 2003
I t began, as many gallery games have done, with a series of games played during the weekly 'staff games' sessions. Each player received a sheet on which were printed 30 very carefully placed (but to the casual eye, randomly placed) dots. See picture left.
Players were invited to join all the dots in a way which would produce an interesting picture or pattern.
The most interesting results from this challenge was a series of snakes, coiled in a variety of ways. But the game did not take off.
Above pics of two out of the many snakes created.
A second attempt at a game was then made, with the players now invited to transform all the dots in some way, and to transform each of the 30 dots in exactly the same way. The game then immediately 'took off', and - once quantities of appropriate papers and canvas boards had been acquired and printed with the 30-dots template, and a range of art materials acquired - the game became open to visitors to the Gallery, youngsters attending the play sessions, and indeed to everyone entering the building. It turned out to be one of the most successful of our gallery games, with players continuously coming up with new ideas as to what they could do with a dot, and with youngsters sometimes running into the building on a Saturday morning (for a drama class) saying excitedly 'I've got a new idea for dots'.
The dots metamorphosed into 30 insects; 30 keys; 30 seals balancing balls on their noses; 30 matchstick men; and even 30 black cats sitting in windowsills.
The players could choose to work with felt tip pens, pen and ink, water colours, acrylic or oil paints, and collage material. Players practiced at first on rough paper and with a relatively small number of dots until they found a way to transform the dots and were confident that they could repeat this without variation or deviation 30 times (not as easy as it sounds).
Above dots transformed with felt tip pens and pen and ink into bears and fish
Above dots transformed with oil paints and collage materials into bluefaced frogs swimming in a red and yellow sea and young chicks.
Some players completed their work relatively quickly, whilst others might work for hours. Some players took their work home with them and returned with the completed work some days, or even weeks, later.
Below are examples of what people achieved starting with a picture of the original dots so that you can see the transformation.
The above seven ictures are all examples of what can be done with just pen and ink. Below you can see what happens when one adds colour to the dots. This ranges through coloured inks, felt tip pens, charcoal, acrylic and oil paints
And finally works made using collage techniques using materials which included matchsticks, buttons, silver paper and stick on shapes.
Dotto, created by Bill Harpe, is possibly the most successful and enjoyable of our Gallery Games. We are planning to create a 'Dotto' publication. This will take the form of a book with illustrations of many of the works created, a section on how to organise and lead the game, a section on the philosophy and practice underlying the game ('Everyone is an Artist'), and a final section of sheets of high quality art paper printed with the 30 dots, enabling purchasers of the book to lead the creation of their own 'Dotto' exhibition. Publication planned for 2015-18.