Thanet Trading Card Project
For our latest project around assemblage making and mapping, we are moving away from the digital space as we look to the gaming sub-community of trading cards for alternative worlding methods. The outcome of this project, therefore, will be a set of collectible limited edition art cards depicting different aspects of Thanet as a community, which serve as components of a playable, multi-person card game. While we are not looking to produce a commodity, as such, it is important for us that these works have the potential to be collected, traded and even played with the format of an actual game.
We are, therefore, looking to use the model of the trading card to explore how value is assigned within assemblages like game worlds (or communities), asking how ideas of collectability and commodity can be used within our approach. In producing an artwork with a utility (gameplay) beyond the traditional function of fine art, the project will address questions of economies within cultural production, including issues of labour and ideas of value within art markets. The project outcome, therefore, will be to create a product which has the potential to accrue value for its owners, but that could also circulate outside of the traditional ‘art space’ as a piece of work which takes the shape and has the potential to function like a consumer product. To do this, we would like to make ‘booster sets’ of packaged cards available at local shops and galleries. Following the common trading card format, each booster pack would contain a different combination of cards, creating an element of surprise, as well as the potential for obtaining cards of different rarities.
While each card will represent an aspect or feature of Thanet, it will also contain an ability or mechanic which will allow it to interact or be played with other cards. In designing these gaming abilities, we are looking to models of world-building and gameplay to think about systems and nodes of interaction within communities. Gaming mechanisms, therefore, will represent moments of convergence between actors within Thanet, as well as values within ideas of community such as equality, ecology and regeneration.
We propose this project as a community worlding endeavour, asking how we can develop a game which reflects Thanet as an assemblage, built through the overlaying and interacting of actors in the form of geography, urban centres, people and built objects. At the same time, it is conceived as a mode of employing local artists or artist connected to Thanet in the representation of these actors. While we will work with artists to illustrate the playing cards, we will also be engaging with local organisation and community groups as part of our research methodology. Conversations with members of the community, therefore, and the research produced through these discussions, will play an integral part both in the representation of Thanet features on the trading cards and in the design of game play itself.