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The Doll Games
Shelley and Pamela Jackson

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The Doll Games, a collaborative web project by Shelley and Pamela Jackson, documents the elaborate and perverse doll games they played in the early 1970's. It also addresses the doll game in general, considering it as a collaborative narrative form, a folk theater in which little girls, and a few boys, rewrite the characters of their Barbies and Skippers to act out scenes (funny, grotesque, sexual) that Mattel never dreamed of.

The Doll Games has several layers: the authors tell true stories, and include bonafide evidence that survives from those times (miniature books and letters "written by" their dolls), but they also footnote and theorize in a faux-academic manner, address readers through fictive Kinbote-like editor. this "scholarship" is slippery tone: it's funny, sometimes mean it. The whole project sits uneasily between fiction nonfiction, serious inquiry parody: authors find subject matter very strange moving. many photographs that accompany texts have two purposes: to document dolls (like artifacts dug up from an archeological site), capture abiding mystery.

These investigations are the core of the project, but The Doll Games is actively soliciting contributions, so its focus will change over time, turning from a private, exclusive obsessional world toward a public, inclusive one (see their note to contributors).

Shelley Jackson is a writer and artist, best known for her 1995 hypertext novel Patchwork Girl; Pamela Jackson is an independent scholar with a PhD in Rhetoric from UC Berkeley. Like the original doll games this hybrid work is an amalgam of their interests.

 

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