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How to be Good Sport


Kristin McWharter


Conference Room 1

SUN, JAN 7 | 4:30 PM - 6 PM (MST)
Community Room + Front Grass Field

*No sign-up needed; drop by!

Participants are guided through this workshop to produce a competitive sport that responds to the unique attributes of the collective group. Thinking about the politics of play and the metaphors embedded within the rules of a game, participants will critically engage with the structures of sport spectacles and craft new or alternative strategies to engage with our competitive drive.

From the Artist

Kristin McWharter

Artist; Assistant Professor, SAIC Art & Technology /  Sound Practices

Competition holds a deeply emotional tenor cultivated through shared narratives of champions, losers and what is deemed ‘fair’. Drawing on frameworks of oppositional and cooperative play, my practice is sourced from my curiosity in the metaphors that lurk within the rule systems of the games we play. I am deeply invested in exploring encounters with competitive spirit and its role in the formation of an American identity. Tapping into felt experiences of hype, submission, and artificially constructed stakes, I am exploring what this phantom drive conjures within the unspoken narratives of underdogs, champions, quitters, or unsportsmanlike conduct. Recently, I have worked with software tools like game engines to construct real time images formed by rules that reproduce phenomena like participation trophies or crowd behaviors like ‘the wave’ via computational logic. These works then led me to create game systems in the form of performative workshops where participants co-create sport spectacles as they consider what it means to be a "good sport". These images, simulations, and performances dig into the cultural values of role play, validation, and collectivity while also questioning the blurred boundaries between causing software to behave like us via the rules we play by and using the rules we play by to cause us to behave like software.