Jan 16th 2022

Football Practice: Imagining Football Futures

@ High Concept Labs


Opening Sunday, January 16th, from 3PM - 6PM


Football Practice is a software simulation and workshop series that delves into histories and cultural impacts of American Football. The work reflects on the various modes of storytelling within the sport and how these stories have come to shape current understanding of community, citizenship, and nationalism. Inspired by popular sports video games such as Madden as well as the practice game mods where users change, alter, or manipulate how a game looks or behaves, Football Practice uses simulation to challenge and reimagine how a game like football is practiced in society. Ultimately, the emergent narratives that form within the simulation and the narrative arcs of sports indexed through workshop conversations open new access points to parsing the structural histories of America’s most lucrative sports enterprise. The work is a new media tool to imagine alternative strategies of competitive play and consensual violence.

For more information, visit the projects website at https://football.kristinmcwharter.com/.

Participate: REGISTER HERE

Join us for this workshop intensive in which participants explore the cultural impact of American football and collectively contribute to a new simulation of the sport. The various players in Football Practice simulation software are crafted by the collective contributions from participants. Each workshop designs and “drafts” two new players into scrimmage, directly shaping the speculative imaging of the game. Inspired by the surrealist game Exquisite Corpses and video game sports simulations such as Madden, participants in the workshop discuss the importance of consent, aggression, and competitive drive as they playfully draft new players to join speculative teams that play the game in real time.

Each workshop hosts 6-10 participants and is open to anyone regardless of their knowledge or interest in football. Part performance lecture part interactive imagining, Workshops are 3hrs in duration and take place over zoom. If you are interested in participating and have accommodation requests, please email kristinmcwharter@gmail.com.

Artist: Kristin McWharter

AI Consultant/ Team Trainer: Alm Chung

Illustrator: Anna Strain

Sound Design: Jackie Turpin

Studio Assistant + Web Design: Iris Luo

3D Modellers: Sara Drake, Natalee Decker, and Adrian Pijoan

Sponsors: Amazing organizations who contributed space, financial, and material support to this project: Chicago Artist Coalition, Thoma Foundation, High Concept Labs, SAIC Art and Technology Studies Department, and Odyssey Works Experience Design Incubator.

High Concept Labs is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency and by a Grant of U.S. Department of Treasury funds through the City of Chicago. The opinions, findings, conclusions and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Treasury or the City of Chicago.

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