An Awkward Game was a week-long performance on the intersection between table tennis and politics. Consisting of a series of public events and an installation on the political origins of the game.
The origins of table tennis are aligned with geopolitics: British aristocrat Ivor Montagu set the rules of the game in the 30s, as he believed it could help spread Communism over the world. He became a Soviet spy, befriending Trotsky, Chaplin and producing Hitchcock’s early films. When Mao established the game as China’s national sport it became a vital cog in his foreign policy, reaching its peak with the reestablishment of US-China relations through the exchange of table tennis players in 1971. In this project, Anna Moreno parallels diplomacy to dialogics, a term coined by Bakhtin also in the 30s meant to note how readers become engaged in a story by non-linear processes, and that is currently used in social sciences, stressing how dialogue itself enables the existence of ‘the other’.
The one week performance was scheduled as follows: