friday nite lites

is the classic scoreboard the lite-brite of the sportocracy?

certainly the only patterns that may be punctured on its face are those that inscribe the rectilinear number-patterns of time and score. but how could they do such a thing? numbers are round and luscious and flowing and curvilinear: gestural markings on a surface, yes, though never meant to be pinpricks of light programmed for a screen-based display (and today's jumbotron fonts are not gestures of the same order, either).

Lite-Brite Scoreboard

if "all production produces production," as deleuze and guattari suggest, then we must trace the flows: it was the card stunt that taught us about these coded sign systems infiltrating the gridded spaces of the sports stadium almost a century ago. there, too, gesture was captured, though with them light was merely reflected to the viewing eye, not produced in its own right. with the electronic scoreboard, on the other hand, it is the produced light of monochromatic incandescent bulbs that is always in the service of the official record: time and produced output, or what we call score.

Scoreboard Font

two squares of potential in this lite-brite pattern. what about all the space in between, or the enclosure within the enclosure? what if the "invisible" layer of black paper and its prescribed pattern was removed from the scoreboard? what if its brite lites were pushed into the holes in freely formed patterns? what if the lites could illuminate from positions embedded in the plastic grid itself?

Courtesy of Colleen Wolstenholme

colleen wolstenholme
victory lane (2004) — line of scrimmage (2004) — slap shot (2008)

what if the scoreboard lite-brite could be layered upon itself — perhaps repeatedly — such that multiple games were being recorded at the same time — perhaps one giving the cover of reduced exposure to the other?

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