Artwork #2: Appropriate

Appropriation – Amaël de Betak



My appropriation project came from the idea of making people create collaborative music using something that was not initially made to make music. I decided to appropriate a skateboard as the instrument as one of our guest speakers was telling us about his work which was all based around his habit of collecting toys. He took a look at Dylan’s longboard and started talking about the fact that the way he made art could be used for any hobby and used the skateboard example. Having tried to learn skateboarding since joining Northeastern and having already produced works using that aesthetic in 2D Fundamentals, I decided to try and use it for this project.

Another reason for the choice of the skateboard is that many people who do not skateboard themselves see it as an act of vandalism which tends to destroy the environment in which it is used. However, this is not the case, and skateboarding can even be considered as an act of appropriation in its self as it uses a pre-existing space and makes something new out of it by looking at it from a different angle.

My objective was to create procedural music through the use of a cadavre-exquis like approach where each participant would have to create a loop based on a metronome and the previous participant’s contribution using the skateboard. The previous loop acted as the end lines which are used in a cadavre-exquis to ensure coherence between the different parts.

My main inspiration from this piece was Duchamp’s The Fountain, as he uses an everyday object which many people would never associate with art and made one of the most recognizable pieces out of it. This idea of giving it a new life is linked to my own piece as the skateboard itself does not seem as though it could be used as an instrument, however, its different components all produce very varied sounds which could allow for diverse approaches when producing music with it.

I also took inspiration from the pieces Musical Chess and the Musical Tennis pieces as they also had this similar idea of creating music out of something which is not normally linked to it.

Overall, I was not entirely satisfied with the way in which the piece turned out as I came with the expectation that participants would use the different elements of the skateboard to create interesting sounds. However, they all took the same approach of using it as a percussion by knocking on the deck and scratching on its grip tape, even though I did show them the different possibilities prior to the recording.

Appropriation Piece: “Exquisite Build”

Exquisite Build

  1. At the start of each round, one player will draw a card. For the first round, the first player drawing the card will be the one who has built a Lego set most recently. The card will give the object being built as well as suggestions for the topics of the multiple building stages, these topics can be changed as each judge wishes. 
  2. The person drawing the card will act as the first judge. As the judge, they will tell the players the object being built and reveal the topic of the first building stage. 
  3. The first collection phase will then commence, moving to the right, each player will draw a card to see the number of pieces they get for their first building phase. The collection phase will be limited to 30 seconds.
  4. Once each player has completed their collection phase, the first building phase will begin, each player has 30 seconds to build the given topic.
  5. Once the 30 seconds are up, the second collection phase will begin and will follow the same rules as the first. This will be followed by a second build phase, a third collection phase, and a third build phase. Each build phase will increase by an increment of 15 seconds.
  6. After the third build phase, each player will present their build of the topic to the judge, who will then select their favorite. The favorite build goes on the baseplate, and the winner gets a point. The rest of the builds are then returned to the pile
  7. The card is then passed to the next judge (to the left), who will determine what the next topic will be. The same process then repeats. 
  8. A round is complete once all players have acted as the judge. Once the round is complete, everyone will take a moment to admire their finished work.
  9. At the start of the second round, the player sitting to the left of the first judge will pick the next card and act as the first judge for the second round.
  10. The game continues either until each player has acted as the starting judge, or the players don’t feel like playing anymore. 
  11. At the end of the game, the player with the most points wins, and is crowned king of the exquisite build.
  12. (Optional rule): The final round is the modern art card, with which players are allowed to build whatever they want.

Artist’s Statement:

This piece was inspired heavily by the “Exquisite Corpse” piece, as well as games like Jackbox and Cards Against Humanity. During the appropriation show and tell, someone jokingly asked if Lego was a form of appropriation. Right when I heard that, I immediately latched onto the idea of using Legos as the appropriated material, but then came the question of what the game would actually be. In the past, Lego had a wave of Lego board games, and I wondered if I should do something akin to that, like a classic board game recreated in Lego, or something along those lines, however nothing really stuck for me. When I thought about my favorite games to play nowadays, I love games like Cards Against Humanity or some of the Jackbox games, where the players are all given one prompt, and each gives a unique response to be judged by the other players or another player. In particular, I really latched onto the idea of one player being a judge, and the rest building something to impress them. In addition, the Jackbox game, Civic Doodle (itself a sort of appropriation of the exquisite corpse formula) was a source of inspiration, as two players were pitted against each other to draw a subject, and then judged. The winner’s piece would then be amended by another two players, and that amendment would be judged, and so on and so on. My game sort of acts as a three dimensional version of Civic Doodle, as the players build upon the foundation set by the last round’s winner. While designing my game, I tried to draw from general concepts we’ve talked about in class, such as the transformation of an object’s purpose, collaborative creation, and creativity in the artistic method. In this game, players are forced to collaborate with each other as they build off of each other’s previous designs. In addition their piece selection and building time is limited, thus transforming the normal Lego building process, in which you are provided all the pieces you need and unlimited time to build the set you purchased into a competitive scramble to collect random pieces in order to build whatever you can in the given time. The Lego pieces act as the appropriated material despite being used as they usually are, as building blocks to make a model of something. Despite the Lego company encouraging creativity and collaboration, most Lego sets nowadays are designed to be built by one person following a given set of instructions. This game, though, uses the pieces to fulfill these values held closely by the Lego company, by encouraging the players to build more uniquely in order to win and contribute to the overall creation.


For this shortened round, the card pulled listed:
Object: Wall
Topics: Wall

The first topic for the build was a wall with holes.

Photo 1: Here we see the two players in the midst of their first collection phase, grasping at whatever pieces they can get before the time runs out.

Photo 2: In the midst of the second building phase, the players designs begin to take hold as they put together what they can with the pieces they’ve acquired.

Photo 3: The first build produced, an artistic wall packed with a variety of holes of different sizes and shapes. A design completely white due to the players wishes. This wall ultimately wins the first phase.

Photo 4: The other first build produced. A worth opponent, filled with a variety of colors and a non-functioning door piece. The player used the door as a barrier, without its traditional hinges, and with an eyeball as the door handle. Is this an appropriation piece in itself? Makes one wonder.

Photo 5: The second stage of the building of the wall. This time, the topic was to continue the trend of the winning wall, and to build a white wall. Here we see the two players in this second stage in the midst of their collection phase, searching for pieces.

Photo 6: The winning build produced in this second stage. The player decided to stack bricks of varying color but same size and shape upon each other. He argued that since all colors of light together make white, that’s what is happening here. Truly a compelling argument.

Photo 7: The other wall built in the second stage. Despite its small size, the wall consists entirely of white or clear pieces, to uphold the white aesthetic established by the first build.

Photo 8: The two walls, placed together on the baseplate to create the final product. An artistic wall with an interesting juxtaposition between their colors.


Photo 9: Fun for friends and family!


Just Draw – Appropriation Game

I originally intended for this game to be a single player experience, but after playtesting with an improvised multiplayer mode where each player would take a turn drawing, I realized that the multiplayer was the real source of fun for the game. There was a lot of emergent behavior I would never have seen in the single player game. The players began to play cooperatively and began helping each other out with their drawings. Some began to purposefully draw in a certain way as to help the other player with their next drawing. The game turned into this strange dialogue between the players as they were both helping each other turn the same thing into two different things. There were some other emergent behaviors that I didn’t expect for individual players. When I played the game, I drew very minimally to make the next drawing easier. Seeing others play, they added a lot more detail that I would’ve added. People became very attached to their drawings in a way that I didn’t necessarily intend. People overall seemed to want more control over their drawing, so I added the ability to move the camera and zoom in and out as well as undo drawings. 


For my appropriation game, the player is given a prompt to draw, which must be drawn by appropriating the previous player’s drawing. After the drawing is complete a new prompt is given to the next player. My original idea with this game was to somehow have the game mechanic be appropriation itself. In my pitch, the game mechanic was for the player to be able to explore their own creations that have been appropriated by the computer. I was inspired by a lot of the more theatrical Dada pieces, especially the earlier Zurich movement where the participation of the audience was a key part of the performance. In this game the player is key in the performance of appropriation. After making the game multiplayer, the form of appropriation transformed so that while the two players had the same object that they were appropriating, they were instructed to appropriate in two seemingly conflicting ways. With this game I saw the use of appropriation as a way to resolve these conflicts. When the players would need to turn a dog into a tree through only additional pencil strokes, there is an immediate conflict that arises. The message I wanted to send through this piece was that only through the act of appropriation by the player do they progress. Another interesting part of my game is scale. I was inspired by the use of scale as a tool for transformation such as the giant joystick or tiny hammer. I forced the player’s drawings to zoom out over time rather than just have them move along the screen.

Just Draw Zoom Out

Appropriation Game – “Star Corpse”

The final title of my game is “Star Corpse”. I appropriated some of the mechanics of Exquisite Corpse, such as each player contributes something to a final piece of art, but I wanted to use collage instead of drawing. I was also interested in collage based on the DADA collages. Originally I bought two magazines: Star and Downtown Abbey. I gave each of the four players a part of the body: head, torso (without arms), arms, and legs. I playtested with 3 different prompts, using both magazines and a piece of graph paper for the base.  

The prompt for this piece was “The Perfect Female Form”

The prompt for this piece was “An Abomination” with no body part suggestions.

This prompt was “The Ideal Male Form”

And this prompt was another “An Abomination” prompt with no suggestions for body parts.

What I found from this playtesting was that the abomination prompts seemed 50-50 on outcomes that matched the aesthetic I was trying to evoke. After talking about it with Celia and my peers, some changes that I decided to make are as follows:

Use stockier paper, always give a body part suggestion, and make the players name their piece when finished. Additionally I decided to broaden my prompts using found words within the Star magazine. I also decided not to use the Downtown Abbey magazine because I found that players tended not to use it when given the choice, and that the material within seemed overall less inspiring. I also made small changes to how the game was played, one prompt card for the group, with each person getting a body part, as opposed to each person getting both.

Here’s what we got:

The prompt for this piece was “CHILD.” They decided to name it Zero.

The prompt for this piece was “PAPARAZZI.” They named it big Hamds McGee, a play on big hands combined with hamburger something- it was a reference I didn’t quite get.

This piece’s prompt was “ACTION STAR.” They named it Aoun Jr.

Overall I was happy with the improvements made from the first playtest to my final playtests. I found that the players tended to name the character they created, not necessarily the “piece,” as I thought they would. The paper change really brought up the production quality of the final piece. I also felt that limiting the source to only the Star magazine also helped solidify somewhat of a theme. Other prompts that I created but weren’t able to playtest were: “Beautiful, stepson, and legend.” Looking back though, if I were to spend more time playtesting, I would try putting the collage on grid paper, and then putting the grid paper on the stockier black paper with a black outline. I do sort-of like the gritty, rugged look that came with the lighter grid paper.

Elena Kosowski Artwork #2 Appropriation: Mad Rock Paper Scissors

Something that caught my interest during class, was whenever someone took a very simple game and created an entirely new experience by changing one mechanic of the game. Some examples that come to mind are the giant joystick by Mary Flanagan and the Octopad by Patrick Lemieux, an 8-person game controllers where each person can only push one button. I wanted to do something similar with the very simple game of Rock Paper and Scissors. I wanted to see this game played with more collaboration and chaos.  So, I decided to merge the game of Rock Paper and Scissors with the game Mountains of Madness.

Mountains of Madness is a boardgame I discovered about a month ago. The aim of the game is to have a team of five players reach the top of the mountain alive with as much treasure as they can. To do so, the players must work together against a bunch of mini challenges. In order to beat these challenges, communication is the most important thing. If the team ever fails a challenge, one of the players gets a madness card. Madness cards impair that member’s ability to communicate in some way, which make the game progressively harder the more and more you fail challenges.  Each player can have up to three madness cards each, which make the game very exciting, crazy, and chaotic.

My combination of Rock Paper and Scissors and Mountains of Madness, called Mad Rock Paper Scissors, is best played with 6, 8, 10, or 12 players. The group of players is split into two teams. In order to win each member of one team must decide on an action to use on the other team, however, they must all perform this one action in sync in order to get the point. For example, if team 1 all perform “rock” and team 2 all person “scissors”, team 1 wins. But if 2 members of team 1 perform “rock” and the other 2 members of team 1 person “scissors”, that team automatically loses.

The game consists of at least three rounds. Before each round, each team has 45 seconds to discuss what action they will perform. During the first round, neither team has a madness card. During the second round, each team has one madness card that each team member shares. During the third round and onward, each team member will have their own madness card. The distribution of the madness card is random before each new round. Like Rock Paper and Scissors, it runs on a “best out of three, best out of five” method where the teams decide how long they want to play.

I do not own the game Mountains of Madness, so I was unable to use the real madness cards. Instead I made my own and formatted them to fit the game of Rock Paper and Scissors better. There are blue and green cards. Blue cards are normal madness cards. Green cards are more restricting. Green cards restrict what action a single player can perform. For example, a green card can tell the player that they can only do rock. This player would have to convince their team to person this single action. Each team can only have as most one green card, because too many green cards can lead to impossible outcomes. If two team members both have green cards and one member can only do rock while the other can only do scissors, then the entire team is doomed to fail.

When I presented this game in front of the class, it is interesting to note groups would perform fake hand gestures during the discussion period in order to deceive the other group. This interaction between players was a fun addition I didn’t anticipate.

Examples of Blue Cards:

Examples of Green Cards:

Artwork #2: Appropriate – Whack Gacha Card Game

Artwork #2: Appropriate – Whack Gacha Card Game

For Artwork #2 I decided to appropriate multiple different card games into one gacha card game. For those who do not know what a “Gacha” game is, here is a brief explanation and history. A Gacha game usually take form of mobile games. The core game mechanic usually having players using in-game currency to “gamble” for playable character base on luck. Because of this luck based system players can get duplicates and have grind for more in-game currency to draw the character they want. This is similar to loot boxes, however loot boxes usually give skins or items that is not essential to the core gameplay. What gacha differs from loot boxes is that it is the core mechanic and attraction. Many popular gacha game came from Japan as well as the term “Gacha”. The origin of this name came from gachapon machines that could be found all over urban Japan. Gachapon usually requires around 100 to 200 yen to draw a random accessory. The first gacha game is “Dragon Collection” on a Japanese social platform called GREE in 2010. Here’s some popular gacha games: Kantai collection, Girls frontline, Azure lane, Fate grand order, Onmyoji, Fire emblem heroes, Pokémon master and even Hearthstone count as a gacha.

During my planning phase I thought about what object that I appropriate and I thought of the Pokémon Cards that I had at my home. Which lead me to combining multiple different card games into a single card game. You can say this combination of multiple items are inspired by Kurt Schwitters. This use of random cards is like Schwitters’ use of random found objects in his collages. What inspired the gacha part is because of the gacha game that I am currently playing and the realization that Hearthstone is essentially a gacha game. The reason that I chose Pokémon, poker and Uno cards is because those are the most accessible cards to me. Pokémon cards fit perfectly as the central battling monster cards. Uno’s special cards provided interesting mechanic to the game. And the basicness of poker cards allowed it to be easily appropriated. During the development phase I have to think of the varies rule that card games have. Thanks to the already existing rule that came with the cards I just have to simplify it and adapt it into my game. Now for the gacha part, since all gacha game are virtual I have to think of a way to bring it to the physical world. I came up with the idea of assigning each card with a dice combination. In most gacha game there is a tier list where high tier characters have the lowest chance of getting. And as a gacha parody I decided to make the top tier Pokémon to be overpowered and have the lowest chance of getting. During the testing phase with my brother he suggested a extension to one of the mechanic: defending, giving it more purpose to take this action. After testing with him, I realized that this isn’t just appropriation of cards but also mechanic. The game has the mechanic of Pokémon, Yugioh, Uno and gacha games.

The cards

When it’s finally the time to test it in class interesting result appeared. The game is a one on one duel with deck that the player gets through rng. The game was played twice with different people both time and both time one of the player gets exceptionally good pulls, both getting the legendary Pokémon. This made it that in both game one player were up against another player that had good luck. However, the result of the 2 games were different. Through the creation process of this game I have one thing in mind and that is unfairness. In a game of luck like gacha game, people with good luck always had the upper hand. To recreate that feeling I made the best card ridiculously overpowered. The first game ended up as I expected, both players played well but the player with the better luck won. However, in the second game the luckier player lost. I concluded that it’s because the other player have the better strategy. And the second game proved to me that with strategy you can win against luck. You could almost saw the second game as an analogy to some real life situation. Some system are made unfair and people with the better luck generally have a easier time. But with a good “strategy” and hard work you can also succeed.

Game Rule and offering chart
The second games player’s deck

Pranav Gopan – Artwork #2 Donut Defender

In most video games, you play as a hero trying to achieve an objective while defeating some enemies. Take Space Invaders, for example. In the classic arcade game, you play as a pilot ship trying to destroy evil alien aircraft. It’s obvious that you need to defend what’s right and take down what’s wrong. For my project, I wanted to spin that concept around. In my game, Donut Defender, you play as a pizza slice and your goal is to block and deflect any delicious healthy fruits that fall down the screen. By the way, there is a donut at the bottom of the screen and if a fruit touches it, it will replicate. If enough donuts fill up your screen, you lose the game. Now you might be wondering, shouldn’t I have made a game where the objective was to defend fruits and extinguish donuts and pizzas? Well my goal was intentional. I wanted this game to be a subtle reflection on how America values unhealthy foods. According to data from the federal government, breads, sugary drinks, and pizza are among Americans’ top sources of calories. They are also made from seven crops that are greatly subsidized by the federal government (corn, soybeans, wheat, rice, sorghum, milk, meat). This means that junk foods can not only be made in great quantity, but also for a cheap price. The real kicker is that the government gave $170 billion in agricultural subsidiaries between 1995 and 2010 in order to produce these goods (O’Connor 1). If we live in a society that pushes for so many healthy eating initiatives, how come the money is going to the foods that aren’t so healthy?

Now that I’ve explained my game’s hidden agenda, let me go into detail about the game’s mechanics. Though it is currently a computer game, it is intended to be played on mobile devices. You would use your finger to drag the pizza icon and deflect incoming fruits. For each fruit you deflect, you earn 10-30 points. Apples give you 10, pears give you 20, and bananas 30. My original design had it so that every time a donut replicates, the player would earn more points. This gave the player the incentive to spawn some donuts, so that they would earn more points by the end of the game. I’m still unsure if I want this to be the case and further play testing might help me come to a conclusion. There are also coins that randomly fly across the screen every now and then. If the player were to risk moving to a different position and acquire the coins, they will eventually be able to buy different donut skins. I created five skins so far, but if I further develop the game, I could create more. Overall, I wanted this game to be an easygoing experience that also builds your finger reflexes (and maybe make you think about the FDA).

O’Connor, Anahad. “How the Government Supports Your Junk Food Habit.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 19 July 2016,


Cards Against the Internet

With Cards Against the Internet, I am trying to recreate a scenario that explores individual humor through a social party card game with an objective reflection of the best and worst that the Internet has to offer. The game rules play out similarly to the actual Cards Against Humanity card game, however with changes to the answer cards (which are now Google Image results) as well as an additional “Bamboozle” mechanic. With the trend of memes of dogs in costumes that “Bamboozle” (or senseless dog pictures with the main purpose of “startling” its viewers), this unpredictability and spontaneity of the Internet is integrated directly within the mechanics of the game. Players can recreate an instance of online media culture, except share their own personal opinions and interpretations in a physical space. The question of what collectively is humor and what things can be accepted in a social setting (without the usual sense of security and anonymity behind a computer screen) is the crux of this game.

The game draws characteristics of Dada art, where one of the underlying motifs is generating questions about society, in this case posing the question of whether the unrestrained freedom of the Internet creates a culture where people are accustomed to instant gratification, randomness, and the profane. A specific example can be drawn from artist and co-founder of the Dada movement, Hugo Ball and his 1916 poem Karawane, one that is made up entirely of sounds (Dada: Zurich, Berlin, Hanover, Cologne, New York, Paris. pg 43). The performance of Karawane was meant to instigate unconventional ideas at the time to its audience, in this case the experimenting with the limits and communication of human language. What is interesting is the fact that Karawane still relies on the fundamental structure of syllables, rhyme, and prose, however changes only the meaninglessness of words through sound. In essence, it is appropriation. With Cards Against the Internet, the rules and questions have not changed drastically based off of the original Cards Against Humanity, however the answer content has shifted towards a representation of random Internet searches. An observed response to my game is the randomness and wide response of choices that is provided due to the nature of Internet pictures. Ideally, it is meant to question our association and reliance to the Internet, our browsing, and how it influences us in a public setting.

AllCards (PDF)

Design Iterations and Testing

Initially, the idea was brought into consideration after playing Cards Against Humanity and observing the rise of Meme Card games. They are both games I enjoy playing, but both lacked an element of “dark humor” due to restrictions as well as the fact that the randomness came from an unnatural place (answer choices that were purposefully made to sound drastic, yet the exaggeration makes it worse). Combining the aspect of a “humorous” party game and appropriating it with the wide honest results of Google Image searches (from history, people, items, events), the list is endless. The Internet drives the humor in the game, and surprisingly people are usually very drawn and open to the idea of Internet humor. I’ve personally given it a second thought and consider the Internet to be a “wild and lawless” place where profanity is left unchecked, and realized its effect on how it has started to normalize the youth of this generation.

I first created a list of potentially funny questions keeping in mind the idea of making them generic enough that both nouns and verbs can potentially be an answer choice. I then created a large list of images that I could use, and went ahead to find pictures of all of them on Google Images, along with as many pictures of dogs in costumes as I could find. I printed the images on a size of half an index card as the standard and attached them to color-coded index cards.


The game rules were easy enough to pick up and play and required little to no explanation for those who have already played a similar game. Overall, the results were mixed to my surprise, but after later consideration I deemed the results to be correct. My first playtest in a private setting garnered a lot of laughs and a general acceptance of the profane humor. However, playtesting it in class, I noticed the general hesitation to the humor when participants were placed in a public setting. I feel as if this game may even have a bigger impact when played in a general setting. Internet browsing history is usually a private matter (along with dark humor), where players obviously tend to reserve themselves in public. I hope that playing this in such a setting will really make a person think twice about the Internet and their behaviors.

Artwork #2: Appropriation

My game is called “Tsum Tsum Party”,  an appropriation of both Mario Party and a line of Disney plush toys called “tsum tsums”.  Mario Party is a party video game with involved a virtual game board that players navigate and each round, they interact through mini games. I wanted to try to recreate that setting through a physical game. The board itself operates similarly to Mario Party’s, with forward and backward directing spaces, with mini events and luck-based triggers.

One of the best attributes of Mario Party was its encouragement of physical movement even though the game operated virtually, so I tried to include that as much as possible. Tsum-tsum means “stack stack” in Japanese, and all the plushes are Disney characters. Thus, a number of mini games involved stacking and disney-related events.

Mini games included:
– disney pictionary based on a blind-drawn tsum tsum from a bag
– disney trivia along the board
– speed stacking tsum tsum (tallest stack wins)
– FINAL GAME: tank and ammo with tsum
– Players get into pairs, one is the tank (on all fours, blindfolded) and one is the driver. The driver has to verbally direct the tank to tsum tsum scattered across the floor and get them to throw it and hit any of their opponents. If either the driver or tank gets hit, they are out. The last team standing wins. This game gives a lot of bonus points.

Tsum Tsum:

Mario Party:

Tsum Tsum Party:

Playtesting Notes:
Everyone really enjoyed the game, and it had the level of interactivity that I wanted. I think with any use of appropriated media, you can’t assume that everyone knows the material you’re appropriating, and some people didn’t know Disney as well as others. However, I feel that Disney in general is popular enough that it’s okay.
Players all had fun, and overall I feel it was an entertaining party game.


Appropriation: Beauty Guru LARP


  • 4-5 players: One running the game (GM), the rest playing
  • Materials: 5 random cosmetic products, which the GM keeps secret until each one is necessary
  • Concept/Goal: Play as a social media beauty influencer and try to advertise a sponsored product the best, using trends and insecurities to win over the “audience” (the GM), who decides whose sell was the best.
  • For prompts, players can use any of the following social media types/personas, but it is not required to stick to one
    • Tutorial; review; prank; vlog; storytime; skit; etc
    • Doesn’t necessarily have to be a “video” format
  • Rules
    • For each round, the GM picks one thing from a list of “insecurities” or can make up their own. They can elaborate on it as much as they want, and make it anywhere between realistic and absurd. These are trends in the hypothetical beauty audience that the players should take advantage of. (List below)
    • The GM then reveals a product from the bag. This is what the players must sell.
      • The insecurity and product DO NOT need to be related; in fact, it is more interesting if they are not.
    • Players can go in any order and can argue and play off of each other, but whoever is speaking MUST be holding the product
    • Players can go for
    • It is up to the GM’s discretion how they judge the players, and who wins. For the rest of the game, the winner of a round holds onto the product as their “point”
  • Insecurities
    • Pore size
    • Acne
    • Skintone
    • Facial hair
    • Hairstyles
    • Hair hygiene
    • Body size

Artist Statement

I’ve always had a lot of opinions about makeup and the culture around it, and those opinions are frequently shifting. Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about the popularity of influencers and beauty gurus on social media and how they market products to consumers in a more subtle way than traditional advertising. These people portray themselves as friends of their audiences, leading to strong parasocial relationship that can then be exploited; they’re called “influencers” for a reason. I respect their careers, but as a frequent consumer of their content it’s important to remain critical and mindful.

In this piece, I’m appropriating both the physical makeup objects as well as the culture and behaviors of online makeup communities. The interactions between players in the game simulate and parody the more long-term interactions of social media influencers, done over comments and replies and my personal favorite, the “response” video. Influencers are known for their dramatics and the constant feuds and callouts; recently, many have been called out for racist behavior, resulting in video after video of bad apologies and people getting angry. It’s escalated to the point of some social media personalities creating entire Youtube documentary series about a particular issue, fanning the flames as well as perpetuating the drama for entertainment. Not only are they marketing products to us, they’re also marketing that this kind of behavior is okay, and that this is the correct way to deal with it. They make reality television more personal just as they do with marketing.

I was inspired quite a bit by the themes of consumerism in the Dada and Fluxus movements, and thought a lot about how they tried to separate art and artists from their associations as precious, valuable things and people (moreso than others), to no avail. It reminds me of the celebrity reputations of social media stars and how, even if they don’t want to, they must often sell their popularity for a living. I was also inspired by the readymades of the Dada era, especially those of Duchamp, and how they take an object and, by turning it into an art object, render it useless in the original regard. In my game, the makeup products become objects, and it is up to the players to decide what its use is, whether it’s true to reality or absolutely absurd. The point of the game isn’t the makeup, it’s what the players do with it, and how it makes them interact with each other. The original idea for using makeup objects as pieces also came from Takako Saito’s Fluxus chess pieces.

Originally, the game had players take turns, speaking one at a time. However, once playtested, the players began talking over each other and directly responding and arguing with one another. I found this tied into the themes even better and was also more entertaining, so I changed the rules to encourage it.