Artists       Schedule        Map        Experiment



Raul Zbengheci


SAT, JAN 6 | 4:30 PM - 6 PM (MST)
Ideation Studio (MIX 108)

10KC (10,000 Currencies) is a tabletop role play simulating the creation of new models for cultural agencies and organizations. Part Model UN, part Dungeons & Dragons, 10KC is an open world for developing the next generation of our shared creative industry. At Worlds in Play, participants are guided through a character creation process. Often the most beloved part of RPG culture, the character creation screen is a portal to the rest of the game, a moment to reflect on who we are and what we hope to become. We will spend this session choosing our vocations, specializations, abilities & stats, resource generators and resource spenders, generating rumors, and getting ready for a campaign next time.

From the Artist

Raul Zbengheci

Deputy Director, NEW INC

Around the time I graduated university, I felt a calling for public service in the arts. I felt a tangible change in myself and the way I saw the world thanks to the world-opening potential of art and culture and I wanted to spend my life's work sharing that with other people. I slowly worked my way up from DIY, artist-run orgs all the way up to the large institutions we associate with the leading edge of art -- the Whitney, PROTOTYPE, Performa, Times Square Arts, many more. I overworked, got underpaid, got paid late, went into debt, but that was OK, I thought it was public service, public interest, for the mission, right? In 2019, employees of the Whitney Museum of American Art signed an open letter calling for the resignation of board vice president, Warren Kanders, for his continued ownership of Safariland, an arms manufacturer recently in the news for providing the teargas launched at water defenders at Standing Rock. That letter led to 10 weeks of protests in the museum's lobby during the Whitney Biennial, I remember producing the performance program and artists changing their entire works in response, making work about the "declining image of the Whitney Museum". I was happy to be in those rehearsal rooms with them supporting those projects, I also believed in the museum's role in a cultural ecosystem, for the people, right? Eventually he resigned following the publication of "The Teargas Biennial" in Artforum and eight artists requesting their works removed from the show (and it was about to happen, the art handlers were scheduled to do it, work order out, etc..). The pandemic started and quickly after, George Floyd was murdered. I joined my colleagues, artists, and greater artistic community in protesting and organizing in the second coming of Civil Rights in this country. We formed a group of around 75 DJs, producers, engineers who brought speakers and microphones to over 150 actions, we called it Make Noise for Black Lives. The museum (and other museums) boarded up their lobbies. One week, I got tear gassed while out at a protest and I saw the Safariland logo on the can (Kanders claimed he divested, but it turned out that wasn't fully true). That same week, I was trying to convince the museum to let me borrow a sound system ​(mind you, nothing fancy) for an action organized by a prominent Black artist who also happened to be in the museum collection. The director published a letter stating "We will also actively consider and pursue new avenues to leverage the Whitney’s resources for constructive engagement outside the Museum’s walls." I thought, amazing, I'd like to leverage those. I got a lot of pushback and the entire effort ended with my manager threatening to fire me if I kept pushing.

I'm writing all of this because the cognitive dissonance between the art and institution just became too much for me and I lived through it. Artists propose new worlds, new ways of seeing the world and each other while institutions remain rooted in the same dated models they were in hundreds of years ago, modeled on extraction and exclusion. The same CEOs of profit generating companies sit on non-profit boards, exerting influence, dominating the narrative, and driving culture. Workers who cannot afford a low paid, "prestige" job or up until a few years ago, an unpaid internship, never even got a chance to pull up a chair to the table. The culture remains white and male even though what's on the walls or on the stage is finally changing. The culture remains dominated by the whims of the 1% even though we're purportedly doing this for the mission, for the people, not for profit. I'm tired of being a concierge for well cultured elites.

Yet, I want to allow myself, I want us to allow each other, to at least play and laugh and argue over a better way to do this. I could not be the person I am today without Einstein on the Beach, without Frank Ocean, without Kara Walker, without Pina Bausch or Edgar Arceneaux or Edgar Heap of Birds or Julius Eastman or all the others who bring a tear to my eye just thinking of the way they've changed my life forever. I love this ongoing conversation with ourselves that we call art so much and I never want to let it go. There is a future beyond non-profits, there is a future beyond lowest common denominator commercial culture, there is a future without board members and it's being created right now: worker owned cooperative media, a re-awakening of mutual aid networks, hybrid business models meeting artists and audience members on their own terms, decentralized networks, quadratic voting, it's all happening and I want to make a game where we can dream up the ways we, as emergent cultural leaders, can tap into each other, come of age together, and drop out of the systems that no longer serve the world we want to live in.