Mechanic is the Message, by Brenda Romero

Artist: Brenda Romero

Title: Mechanic is the Message

Year created: 2008-ongoing

Location: USA

Materials: various – board games, interactive installations

What is the piece’s impact? This project involved the development of several “games for understanding,” such as Train (2009), Siochan Leat (aka The Irish Game), 2009, and One Falls for Each of Us (2010). Each one is a one-of-a-kind creation, but they could conceivably be replicated. They allow us to (in some small way) engage in an experience around challenging issues such as the holocaust, the Irish famine, and the middle passage.

How does this project relate to this change as art?  “The Mechanic is the Message captures and expresses difficult experiences through the medium of a game. Much like photographs, paintings, literature and music are capable of transmitting the full range of the human experience from one human to another, so too can games. Due to their interactivity, the installation suggests that games are capable of a higher form of communication, one which actively engages the participant and makes them a part of the experience rather than a passive observer.” (source)

What makes this an artistic project? While the creator is a game designer by trade, the symbolic content of these games pushes them outside of the realm of design into art.

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