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City-Wide Open Studios 2016: Game On! explores the increasing presence of participation, play and game theory in contemporary artistic practice. Ten major commissions, which include installations, sporting events, performances and off site excursions harness a range of game structures as grounds for bringing people together. Many of these projects are interactive and encourage healthy competition between strangers, ranging from field and lawn sports, to popular board games, video games, game shows and scavenger hunts—all imagined with a twist. Here are a few highlights:


Gordon Skinner's Urban Totems is made up of four make shift basketball hoops assembled from locally sourced discarded objects, including wooden palettes and milk cartons, fused to the artist's paintings. Skinner contemplates handmade basketball hoops and paintings as dual spiritual focal points for a community or tribe to gather around.


Journey of Discovery by Scott Schuldt is an art scavenger hunt inspired by the Lewis & Clark expedition. Designed to encourage close observation, teamwork, and conversations with artists (who hold the clues), this game sends participants to all four floors of New Haven's 200,000 square foot Goffe Street Armory, where 200 artists have set up temporary studios for the weekend. Winners take home a unique work of art, sourced from a local river in Connecticut and boxed by the artist. 


How in sync are we? Total Jump by Caitlin Foley and Misha Rabinovich is a video game that trains up to 8 people to jump and land at the same time. Participants stand on floor mats with electronic sensors. The work wonders-- could preparing for a world-wide jump help us come one step closer to transcending our divisions? If not, what shared activity or fantasy could?

Image Credits: Photos by Graham Hebel, Courtesy Artspace New Haven.

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