Zoe Walker & Neil Bromwich: 'Game for Change'14. Jun - 6. Sep 14 / ended Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art
Part III of 'Buying Time'
How are we going to change the world? As in classical fables from Thomas More's Utopia onwards, Neil Bromwich and Zoe Walker's newly commissioned work - a collaboratively produced board game that - situates us on the fictional island of Orcadia. On this island, we discover that we must negotiate a process of change both personal and collective through embodying the spirit of mythical archetypes and maritime changelings. 'Game For Change' offers new ways of rethinking around how we relate to others.
Across 2013 and 2014 Walker and Bromwich undertook a 'residency', working with a management consultant, Mark Butcher. Collaborating with Butcher, the artists created workshops to test how his 'thought experiments' and strategies designed to make businesses and charities work together better might be re-configured as a discursive tool that might facilitate expansive thinking around the collective difficulties that face wider communities. The work navigates sticky territory, a borrowing back and forth between the tools of change management and the tools of creative thinking absorbed within this system. Walker and Bromwich straddle this tightrope of borrowed strategies, in a game that offers a practical tool through which to re-examine our lives.
Through their residency with Butcher, and in collaboration with game designer Dan Howard, the artists have created a new board game that tests the unwritten rules of our behaviour to others by making us face dilemmas and decisions around collective action. 'Game for Change' proposes a different type of economy of exchange - by establishing a different set of mechanics by which people might learn to interact.
Zoe Walker & Neil Bromwich make work that explores the space between what exists and what is possible. They create objects and situations that invite people to consider other ways of thinking, even of being. They ask 'is it possible for art to imagine practical, aesthetic and poetic solutions to social, political and environmental problems?'
'Buying Time' is a project by curator Nathalie Levi. It asks how artists can intervene in what has been described by Robert Peston as the "real economy" when the structures of employment and production are undergoing massive change. The project partnered three artists with three entirely different types of businesses. David Lisser, Graham Dolphin, and Neil Bromwich & Zoe Walker have been working as 'embedded artists' in the commercial world.
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