Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
January 17 - April 4, 2004

Joint Curation:
Shu Lea Cheang
Armin Medosch
Yukiko Shikata


Game Commons, conceived as an exhibition "plug-in" to Game Scenes, celebrates game culture as an open sphere of exchange, interplay and re-appropriation. It strives to connect the community values always inherent in game culture with notions of "digital commons" or "creative commons" which have recently reinvigorated the debate about the future shape of the information society. Games were among the first digital cultural artifacts that were traded in a gift economy and have continued to drive the development of digital technology, networked interaction and non-linear narration throughout the relatively short history of digital culture. Game Commons invites audiences to engage more closely with the rules and concepts of game-play in order to challenge conventional wisdom about the nature of game-play. The exhibition "plug in" consists of three commissioned artworks - S3GA MarkII, Civilization IV, and ./ logicaland v0.1 . It also initiates the development of the Game Commons Online Platform.


S3GA MarkII by portable[k]ommunity (based in Japan), questions the rules that drive computer games. Instead of confronting the players with a conventional game scenario, the ultimate aim of the game is to beat the human players by exposing them to heavy sensorial overload and "impossible" interactions using a 3D mouse.


Civilization IV - Age of Empire is a project by Eastwood Real Time Strategy Group (based in Serbia and Montenegro) that explores and simulates the flow and control of information and capital. Based on the famous "Civilization III" game-engine, it displays the relationships between some of the main determinants of our global culture - the military entertainment complex, immaterial labor, the pharmaceutical industry and the net economy - to name just a few.


Logicaland/ (based in Austria) presents the Web-based simulation game ./logicaland v0.1and its BF - Tool. ./ logicaland v0.1is the first attempt to realize a prototype of a global simulation game that aims to be steered by a community of unlimited participants. The BF - Tool acts as a visualization device that translates the game play into shifting 3D diagrams.


The Game Commons Online Platform initiative is an attempt to create an inter-operative online environment for communication and exchange around open source games, game objects and elements. <KOP> announces an open call for proposals on the development of the Game Commons Online Platform. Modeled after a decentralized database and a distributed shared network, the platform intends to facilitate a free hand game-play in making up rules and sharing game-related digital artifacts. The platform would ultimately serve as an on- and off-line forum for commons exchange while envisioning a future paradigm of open source game culture


Kingdom of Piracy <KOP>, was first conceived as an online floating work space to explore the free sharing of digital content - often condemned as piracy - as the net's ultimate art form. Sponsored by Taiwan Acer Corporation's Digital Arts Center for its ARTFUTURE2002 exhibition, <KOP> was removed from Acer's server and its exhibition cancelled during Taiwan's aggressive anti-piracy campaign in Spring 2002. Deprived of an Acer domain name, <KOP> had its world premiere at Ars Electronica 2002 and subsequently was adopted by and given residence on the web-server of the Ars Electronica Center. <>. Claiming itself to be a floating kingdom adrift in the codified open source / open sea, <KOP> dropped its anchor in 2003 at the FACT media center, <>, Liverpool, UK. Along with an exhibition focused on the creative potential of shared networks, a CD ROM and print publication, DIVE, highlights the growth of a public domain in software and art with the development of free software and free networks.