The YKON Game - Change the World in Five Hours. Hafnarhús, Saturday 19 December 12 – 5 p.m.
THE YKON GAME
The YKON Game is a world simulation game for up to 30 players. It's based on a simple thought experiment: imagine that the world is brought to a complete halt. Everything stops. No more business as usual. With the world frozen, you and your fellow players can tinker with it as you please. What will you change? How do you convince others to go along with your changes? And what about the consequences?
Through the 1960's, Buckminster Fuller was developing the “World Game”. It was to be his masterplan for the planet Earth: a tool that would formulate a comprehensive, design science approach to all the problems of the world. Inspired by the ideas of Fuller, we have developed the YKON Game, a more poetic perspective on the future of our world.
Instead solving the problems that we know, The YKON Game seeks to uncover the ideas that we're still missing -- sometimes wonderful, sometimes terrifying thoughts that could forever alter the world, and the way we live in it. For its players, the game poses an existential challenge: they will have to think about what kind of world they truly want.
So come and change the world. You don't need to be an expert: everyone is welcome.
How is the game played?
The players will assume game roles entering the “frozen world” scenario. They are given the power to change the world by will. They can use this power to realize their private fantasies, megalomaniac ideas or visions of a better tomorrow. The game lets these early ideas roam free.
However, during the game, the players will come together in groups, and they will have negotiated their world views with others: can they reach a consensus within the group? Can they modify their ideas to get others to support them?
The game ends with a News broadcast, reporting the events that will unfold when the world comes back to life, and implemented changes take effect. Here, the players can speculate about the consequences of their changes.
The game is played in real life situations, between people, interacting mostly in a normal manner. For example, a discussion between two people, who have assumed game roles, can be a gaming situation.
Child's play serves as a good comparison: If the children decide to run away from an imaginary beast, they're still running in real life. Only, they've added fiction on top of it - and because of that fiction, they're actions become different, have different motivations, strategies and behaviour.
WHAT IS THE “FROZEN WORLD?”
The game starts with a simple thought experiment. What if the world would freeze completely, for some inexplicable reason? What if you would be able to roam around this frozen world freely, and to change the world by your will? What would you do? This thought experiment helps to unlock the personal ideas and wishes people might have about the world, and bring them out in the open.
The YKON Game takes the immensity of the world, and puts it in your playful hands. During the game, you will tackle questions you would never face in real life. Which is exactly why these questions are worthwhile -- they lead to possibilities hidden by the reality of everyday life.
The scenario of the game is designed to:
1. Help you generate personal, original ideas about the world.
2. Offer you a space where these ideas can be developed, expressed.
3. Let you negotiate your ideas with others, instigating changes, deals and compromises.
While play happens in the secure confines of fiction, the ideas themselves may have a life beyond fiction. An odd thought, lost in the pragmatism of life, may bloom and grow within play, gaining enough strength to move onto the real world. The safety of play nurtures surprising things.
WHY WOULD ONE PLAY SUCH A GAME?
Reality games can be seen as life plus: they present life with the additional possibility of fiction. This is a simple, yet arguably a powerful idea. Employing it, we can test hypothetical scenarios, experiment what it would be like to be different, or simply alter a situation that is not interesting by itself.
From an artistic perspective, reality games explore our future horizons. They operate on the borderline of art and everyday life, using tools that have developed within an interactive culture of play. Thus, they harbour possibilities unforeseen by the traditional forms of art. With the YKON Game we seek to combine the heritage of art with the expertise of play, seeking to utilize the strengths of both.
Printed of the web Reykjvik Art Museum, www.reykjvikartmuseum.is 12.26.2013