CALLY TRENCH

Whirlpools and Lifebelts

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Cally Trench's board games

In Whirlpools and Lifebelts (2016), an original board game by Cally Trench, the aim is to bring your family of five people from their dangerous Homeland to the Island of Safety. All players are in play simultaneously, and the game is punctuated by sound as players recite appropriate words when a member of their family drowns or reaches safety. The border shuts when seven people have reached the Island of Safety. The game is essentially a race, but the recitations by the other players make you aware of their loses and successes. Whatever your intellectual position on migration, you will feel an intense desire to get your family to the Island of Safety; the game bypasses the intellect and engages you emotionally. I cannot remember an occasion on which all five members of a family were saved; you might consider that you have won if you have saved more of your family than the other players - but at what cost?

Whirlpools and Lifebelts by Cally Trench

Cally Trench: I believe that board games are a way for people to engage with what distresses us. In general, players willingly suspend disbelief and play in earnest; board games seem to bypass the intellect and engage people directly at an emotional level. My board games highlight moral and ethical problems while not suggesting solutions.

Whirlpools and Lifebelts was first played at Homunculus, an exhibition in response to the humanitarian crisis caused by mass migration, curated by Rekha Sameer at Asylum, London, on 17th January 2016.

Whirlpools and Lifebelts by Cally Trench

Whirlpools and Lifebelts by Cally Trench

Cally Trench, Whirlpools and Lifebelts in Homunculus
at Asylum, London (17th January 2016)
Photograph: Cally Trench

Whirlpools and Lifebelts by Cally Trench

Cally Trench, Whirlpools and Lifebelts
OVADA Stammtisch, Joe Perks & Co., Oxford
(24th November 2016) Photograph: Cally Trench

Whirlpools and Lifebelts by Cally Trench

Cally Trench, Whirlpools and Lifebelts
at Rising Sun Arts Centre, Reading (4th February 2017)
Photograph: Cally Trench

Whirlpools and Lifebelts by Cally Trench

Cally Trench, Whirlpools and Lifebelts
Festal Favours, Charlbury (10th June 2017)
Photograph: Cally Trench

Whirlpools and Lifebelts by Cally Trench

Cally Trench, Whirlpools and Lifebelts
in Cally's Board Game Evening, Wycombe Museum
(15th February 2018) Photograph: Cally Trench

Whirlpools and Lifebelts by Cally Trench

Cally Trench, Whirlpools and Lifebelts
in Cally Trench's Original Board Games
The Heseltine Gallery (22nd September 2018)
Photograph: Cally Trench

Whirlpools and Lifebelts by Cally Trench

Cally Trench, Whirlpools and Lifebelts
in Cally Trench and Elisabetta Balasso:
Original Board and Card Games
at OpenHand OpenSpace
(7th September 2019) Photograph: Cally Trench

Whirlpools and Lifebelts by Cally Trench

Cally Trench, Whirpools and Lifebelts
at In Dialogue 2019, Déda, Derby (19th November 2019)
Photograph: Cally Trench

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