December 2, 2004

Thank You

by Mary Flanagan · , 12:25 pm

Please visit the exhibition “Thank You”—an activist art project conceived by Danish/Australian/U.S. group Wooloo Productions (I’m in it!). It launched yesterday on World AIDS day, December 1st, 2004.
thank you image

Thank You “confronts its audience with the relationship of exchange between Africa and the West. Dealing specifically with issues of exploitation and disease, the project utilizes possibilities afforded by online technology to illustrate the absurdity of today’s co-existing economic reality.”

The show is meant to be a platform to critique altruism and exchange while at the same time help real people (this contradictory stance of critical activism is driving me to read a lot of Negri, by the way–and much of his writing is liberated!!).

Wooloo Productions invited one American (mary) and four South African artists to create interactive artworks. Each viewer interaction wiht the works results in the release of one South African Rand (approx. US$ 0.15) towards the cost of setting up an HIV Education Center in Khayelitsha. So when visitors click on projects they help raise $$– we can collect quite a large sum from donors to help build the center if people visit our works. So click away!! The Thank You show takes place simultaneously in two physical locations—Artists Space and a public stage in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa—as well as online. If you’re in nyc, visit Artists Space (38 Greene st, 3rd Floor). In Khayelitsha, its on the center stage area at Site B, where Wooloo member Sixten is acting as host for the show . The works are presented on computer monitors in the two project locations from Dec 1 – 11 2004. There is a video hook up linking the sites.

I made the game [six.cirles] specifically for this show. Players connect triangles to form shapes, but while playing, must introduce illness into the community. Players have to negotiate and sacrifice to cooperatively prevent the spread of the disease or cure pieces while still attempting to win the game by creating “six circles” out of the shapes. A circle cannot be “closed,” however, unless it is 1/2 infected, showing that communities must work together and embrace problems as a whole.
detail of [six.circles] game by mary flanagan

Right now [six.circles] is functioning as a game for two players on a local machine, with cross-net gameplay coming this weekend and single player mode soon to follow. Lots of people to thank for inspiration and help, including Ruth Catlow, Joline Blais, Jon Ippolito, and Sebastian. I’m also working with the amazing Chris Egert, an old friend. He is technical engineer on the project and he’s faculty in RIT’s Information Technology Dept (where there are ruminations of gaming program afoot). You can also visit the project from my website, which has more writing about the [six.circles] game.