From 15 March 2004 visitors to Tate Online will have the opportunity to contribute towards the creation of a new multiplayer internet game which explores and challenges the different political systems.
agoraXchange (www.tate.org.uk/netart/agoraxchange) is a project by net artist Natalie Bookchin and political theorist Jacqueline Stevens. The site is a forum for the exchange of ideas, where participants are encouraged to work together on the rules, design, and code which will ultimately be used in the game. Participants will answer questions prompting them to make decisions about the game design and in the process explore political alternatives and conventions around nationality and wealth. Participation at agoraXchange will be facilitated through techniques successfully adopted in other large-scale online distributed collaborations, such as the open source software movement and self-regulating, peer-to-peer discussion groups.
agoraXchange will host the collaborative development of the game design in phases over the next two years. An electronic conversation conducted between David Ross and Murat Ozbank will reflect on and inspire the initial game development phase and will be posted at Tate Online. When all the phases are complete, agoraXchange will be closed for submissions, and a committee of artists, activists, and political theorists will be convened to review the submissions and conversations for the purpose of proposing the possible games. These will be available online for further deliberation by agoraXchange participants. At the end of this process, a jury comprised of agoraXchange participants will vote on these proposals and ultimately decide which version will then be created.
Natalie Bookchin’s most recent project, Metapet (www.metapet.net) is an online game commissioned by Creative Time, New York in association with HAMACA, Barcelona. In 1999-2000 Bookchin organized
Jacqueline Stevens is the author of Reproducing the State (Princeton University Press, 1999). Her work has appeared in Political Theory, the American Political Science Review, the Journal of Political Philosohy, Social Text, and many other publications. She is currently working on two further manuscripts: States without Nations (the theoretical basis of agoraXchange), and The Human Being Project. In 1997-1999 she was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Scholar at Yale University. She developed the ideas for this project while at Istanbul Bilgi University (2002-2004) and is also on the faculty at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
agoraXchange is the latest net art commission at Tate Online and has received financial assistance from the Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science and Technology. Previous commissions have included Shilpa Gupta (Blessed Bandwidth 2003), Susan Collins (Tate In Space 2002), Heath Bunting (BorderXing Guide 2002), Harwood@Mongrel (Uncomfortable Proximity 2001) and Simon Patterson (Le Match des Couleurs 2001). The architecture and development of the agoraXchange website are by FDTdesign. Tate Online is generously supported by BT.