On Monopoly Games, 1971

My Monopoly game paintings consist of 200-230 painted magnetic elements on a painted metal board. They deal with world trade, world politics, the left and the right in USA, Indochina, and CIA vs. Third World liberation forces. They can all be played, according to the rules written on the paintings, as variants of the classical Monopoly game, which is of course the game of capitalism: a simplified, but precise presentation of the trading of surplus value for capital gains.

The Monopoly paintings are even more simplifed - as they deal with very complex realities - but nevertheless come out as basic game diagrams of these phenomena. That is, by the formulation of the rules, the definition of resources (million dollar coins, or hearts = lives), tactics and other such elements, plus the additional information you get from the sectors of the CHANCE-wheel. Blue colors stand for USA, violet for Europe, red for Russia, yellow for China, orange for North Vietnam, etc., and the Third World goes from brown red, over shades of green, to blue-green (S. Vietnam, S. Korea, etc.).

By choosing sides and strategies the player will be involved in a miniature political psycho-drama. The game can be played intensively in an hour with two or four participants. Or by one person, while the clear colors slowly change on the surface, like a tree throught the seasons. These game paintings will only be meaningful when they have been made into mass-multiple editions.

Öyvind Fahlström
October 1971