During the month of the residency in St Petersburg, Avenir Institute developed 'The Game of Futures #2' together with the members of the youth club 'Sreda’.
The project departs from the critical theory and the theory of futures, embedded in gamification mechanisms from popular board games, played by the people of all generations, the young people in particular, in St Petersburg and beyond.
‘The Game of Futures #2’ is an installation, a sculpture and a board game that consists of a game board the shape of the map of the modern Russia, game pieces of several types, representing the various centres of possible futures (medicine, communication technology, energy, etc.). It also includes score coins that are distributed by chance, and political leader figures, whose function in the game is to close the towers of futures into ‘the future’ and claim the scores for players. Each player places pieces on the grid of the map, which is carefully balanced on an elevated stand. The higher the tower and the further from the centre of the map it is built, the more points the player claims at the point of closing the tower with a political leader. The players can build on each other’s towers, but the one who started the tower and the one who closed it with the political leader gets the most points from the tower. The players cannot put coins on the map arbitrarily, but can move like in Draughts (of Checkers). The players, while building towers, have to mind the balance of the platform: in case towers are not evenly built, the platform can incline and collapse the game of futures for everyone. The winner in ‘The Game of Futures #2’ defines the core of the desirable future scenario: based on the type of events (avenirs) his/her coins represent.
None of the scenarios of futures is right or wrong: the competitive character and the critical nature of the game are reflected in the relativity of the gameplay and the role of luck along with strategic considerations - crucial for the resilience and balance of the platform.
A political leader closes a tower in order to allow the players to collect points. In line with one of the primary functions of politics, the institutionalisation of the everlasting present as a form of stability, a political system produces an illusion of the end of history and all alternatives to the current are presented as dangerous, even apocalyptic, unless they are not constructed above the established basis. Any disruption to the established order as ‘the Other’ is perceived as alienating, risky and unfriendly by default. The finished towers allow to determine the winner in the race of futures, but at the same time they fixate the future as the everlasting present.
The installation/game is produced at the Fab Lab in the St Petersburg State Polytechnic University.