The Rousseau Game

Players: 3-6
Time: 15-45 min.

How to draw it?

  • Draw a 5x5m square
  • In one corner draw 5 concentric circles
  • From the next corner draw a line down the middle of the opposite side
  • Divide the formed triangle into slices
  • Fill the space between the circles and the triangle with geometric shapes

What to draw it with?


In the Rousseau Game there are 3 parts:
1. Hierarchies - the concentric circles
  • enter from the smallest circle
  • you have to fight the one in the next bigger circle to take his place (physically)
  • if the one in the smaller circle comes in and takes your place, you'll have to start over.
2. Living Space - the triangle
  • all players start on the largest trapeze
  • after 10 seconds everyone must move on to the next trapeze
  • what happens when there is not enough space for everyone?
3. Objects - geometric shapes in the centre

  • pick up as many objects on the ground as possible by touching them and maintaining contact
  • you're only allowed to make one move at a time

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About The Rousseau Game


The Rousseau game is an exhibition playground based on a quote from Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality Among Mankind. It proposes the analysis and documentation of the work process and the play process by creating a limited framework of time, space and materiality for the artistic research of the game. The design of the game as a stage of construction and testing in series of variants of the Rousseau Game is the object of the exhibition.

There are 5 mini-games in the Rousseau playground that follow different aspects of property. In one the space shrinks and players have to find a way to either get others out of the game or to create space for everyone. Others focus on hierarchies, enclosing space, possessions and borders. Each concept is expressed through abstract shapes that inform human movement and relations.

«The first man, who after enclosing a piece of ground, took it into his head to say this is mine, and found people simple enough to believe him, was the real founder of civil society. How many crimes, how many wars, how many murders, how many misfortunes and horrors, would that man have saved the human species, by pulling up the stakes, or filling up the ditch, and crying to his fellows, "Beware of listening to this impostor; you are lost, if you forget that the fruits of the earth belong to us all, and the earth itself to nobody.”»
Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality Among Mankind, Part Two


The Rousseau game was developed in the MNAC Auditorium space in May 2022.

It was acquired by the museum in November 2022 and it is currently on display in the PULS22 exhibition.