Players: 1 - 20 players
Duration: 10 - 60 minutes
The spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum) or as they call it in Puerto Rico, “Malamadre,” the Bad Mother, branches off plantlets that eventually seek soil to grow on their own. That’s how the plant generates another life, and that’s how this game was conceptualized. Through a set of questions that you—the mother—will answer, earning points, you are led to a result which indicates the type of Bad Mother you are.
The questions are derived from the idea of the “good mother” as conceived by various societies and cultures, and then projected in the media. The game tries to understand these projections by addressing themes and emotions like sacrifice, isolation, care, and love. Specifically, through the eyes of the public that gives mothers constraints, rules, and obligations, deciding what a mother is and what she does, we start to see a clear image of what a “bad mother” is and what a “good mother” should be. The game can be played as a single player or in a group, and every question opens up a different notion of motherhood.
The idea is to accumulate points based on the answer to each question; then, based on the total points accumulated by the end of the game, the find out the type of mother you are according to societal criteria of a good mother, by which mothers in general are considered and judged. According to the game’s mode of points collection, the more independent the mother and the more she seeks to exercise her right and freedoms, the worse a mother she is, while the more she denies herself and abandons them, she better she becomes as a mother.
Disclaimer: There is no bad, wonderful, awful, or ideal mother. And we do not aim to make a game based on scientific facts or psychological tests. But rather to start a conversation about the image of mothers created by the judgmental standards and norms of society.
Rania Atef is a visual artist and researcher living in Cairo, Egypt. She holds a BA degree in Applied Arts from Helwan University (Egypt), was enrolled in TASAWAR curatorial studies program (Tunisia), and participated in the fifth edition of MASS Alexandria’s independent studio and study program (Egypt). She is a co-founder of K-oh-llective, an artist group that provides resources and facilitates conversations between art practitioners in Egypt and the Arab world. Atef is interested in maternal and reproductive labor engaging with infrastructures of social and cultural institutions. Focusing on motherhood, the act of care, labor as invisible action, and how it is valued and documented. She is a recipient of the Prince Claus Seed Award (2021), Gypsum Bursaries (2022), and the Prince Claus Building Beyond Mentorship Award (22/23).