Ghosts of a Chance
September 16, 2008 8:33 AM   Subscribe

Ghosts of a Chance
The Luce Foundation Center at the Smithsonian American Art Museum (SAAM) just launched the Alternate Reality Game (ARG) titled “Ghosts of a Chance.” We’re the first art museum in the world to host an ARG, and this is the first ARG that is based around cultural objects. “Ghosts of a Chance” invites gamers to create objects and mail them to the museum for an "exhibition" curated by two game characters posing as employees. But the "game within the game" is also a challenge to uncover clues to the narrative that binds those objects, and to investigate the way objects embody histories.

What's particularly interesting is that the museum is blurring many well-established rules by allowing clues and "signposts" for the ARG to be posted in places usually reserved for art-historical content and museum information. Furthermore, we're tapping into "maker" culture by asking players to create and submit artifacts, which will be on temporary display at the museum. Selected creations will even be entered into the museum's online database for the duration of the game. So far SAAM has planted game clues in interpretive labels; issued a press release that is mostly fictional; accessioned player-created artifacts into the master database of record; and played along with two game characters posing as employees.

The game launched on September 8 on and will culminate in a five-hour event at the museum on October 25, 2008.
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