Game Changers

Competition Details
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MEME Cards

by AJ Mallari
Co-authors: Ribale Sleiman Haidar

Evacuation centres are created based on the idea that an artificial environment can create a temporary haven for those fleeing from the violence of war or the aftermath of natural epic calamities. These camps can last from as short as a few days to years, even decades.
With more then a dozen typhoons a year battering the Philippine archipelago coupled with constant volcanic eruptions and occasional earthquakes, the sight of evacuation centres is embedded in the country’s social fabric.

Thirty years of civil unrest amidst a regional landscape made infamous by warring neighbouring states, Lebanon’s populace has been accustomed to a flighty existence. Evacuation centres are normal.

Spending time in evacuation centres, we were lucky enough not to have had any traumatic memory that would have haunted us up to now. Children are the most vulnerable group inside temporary camps.
The “Meme” in “Meme Cards” stands for two things. First--MEnding MEmories, fixing a childhood otherwise lost to wars and calamities, creating ways to find joy, harmonious interaction between friends, family and mere strangers. Meme also pertain to a sub-culture imposed by circumstances, like in this case, the after-effects of natural disasters and/or war.

The deck of cards contains instruction for a series of games a child (or a child-at-heart) can play alone or with a group. Each game is specifically designed to encourage the player to reflect on his/her current predicament (as shown in the example of a “paper plane”) and how best to face the result of these reflections. It can simply be a mimicking game (animals) that is just plain fun! To create a tangible output, which the players can reminisce back to, the cards are designed to fit and lock together so at the end the players can build their personal paper sculptures.

The importance of this game lay in making possible alternative happy memories in an otherwise challenging (maybe even depressing) environment.

Materials: Recycled Kraft board and vegetable-based ink.