Feb 13th 2022

It’s Game Day! Join artist Kristin McWharter and collaborators to witness the first screening of their (reimagined) football game created through Football Practice, an experimental software and football simulator developed over the course of her 12 month residency with High Concept Labs.

The event will consist of an artist talk, video compilation of the development and workshop process, and the very first screening of the big game.

Football Practice hosted a series of virtual workshops in which participants collectively discussed the complex ways in which this game models and reflects an American view of power struggle, masculinity, consensual violence, and group dynamics. They imagined new football players for a speculative future team. The resulting speculative players designed have offered an intimate view of the fantasies and social issues we role play as spectators of the sport.

This crowdsourced imagining was then interpreted by a team of artists, designers, and developers to produce Football Practice, an experimental software and football simulator. 22 players were designed over the course of 11 sessions throughout the year. Each introducing complex power dynamics and strategic hurdles to how these speculative teams have learned to play football. Players trained throughout the year as new athletes were drafted, and after learning the nuances of how they each navigate their roles, this full starting line up has prepared us for Game Day, the first full game for these new players, take place on the American Superbowl holiday.

Artist and Head Coach, Kristin McWharter

Special thanks to the development team: Alm Chung, Anna Strain, Iris Luo, Jackie Turpin, Sara Drake, Natalee Decker, and Adrian Pijoan

This project was made possible with the support of: High Concept Labs, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, VGA Gallery, Culture Hub, and the Chicago Artist Coalition Envision Grant.

This program 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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