culturecapital game + tournament

“culturecapital trading card game + tournament performance”
Organizers: Milton Lim and Patrick Blenkarn

culturecapital is a collectible card game and tournament-style performance that utilizes public funding figures, company budgets, and knowledge of cultural festivities/trends to critically engage with and celebrate the ways in which artistic value is created within our culture economy.

We’ve taken municipal, provincial, and federal public funding data on performing arts companies over the last four years, crunched the numbers, created hundreds of cards, and set them loose within a competitive game that strives to accurately reflect our national arts ecology. Adopting the role of stewards, players summon companies, roll a die for government grants in order to realize projects of differing values, and then use these projects to compete for community points.
Strategic planning cards are played to change the tide of the battle and whoever has the most communities at the end, wins.

Like any card game, culturecapital works as a low tech, lights-on social game. But we’ve also developed a dynamic media apparatus for performing matches within a spectacle-style showdown that uses a digital playtable, top-down projection, electronic sound, and live-streaming that together constitute a live performance that borrows from video games, theatre, and e-sports.

Through these performances, culturecapital fulfills itself both as a collectable card game (residually promoting basic knowledge about local art companies) and as an alternative context to reflect upon the Canadian performing arts economy: by participating in the game, arts workers and the general public alike are thrust into a conversation that challenges both the both standard critical discourse on artistic values and the non-standard whispers of critique that define our ‘polite’ public discourse.
This presentation workshop at CATR is dedicated to articulating the research portion of our project, obtaining critical feedback from academic communities, and inviting scholars to play the game and to contribute to/make use of our research in the future.

Further info:

For a 5min video from the most recent workshop:

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