THE BIG GAME, was a project I directed at, The Platte Forum Residency, in collaboration with a group of 15 high school students from Denver. THE BIG GAME, used sports as a platform to explore politics and involved the invention, design, physical fabrication and performance of a new sport in a fictional dystopian future. The final public performance of TBG included all of the accoutrements of a good spectacle: like tickets, light and sound, an MC/sport announcer, a half time rap by the students about the name origins of the dodgeballs, a food vendor (in collaboration with a neighboring restaurant who led discussions with the students about what food would look like a 100 years from now, like most things in our world, it is also red), inflatable clapping sticks with the logos and names of the teams, jerseys, screaming die-hard fans, and of course, jock jams.
THE BIG GAME
The fictional premise of the project.
It’s the year 2117 and the world has all but been destroyed by a century of capitalist fed greed and violence. We belong to a group of activists that have discovered a secret underground repository of sports gear and a tattered book on the history of sports. The only problem is that the book is highly damaged and we can hardly read it. We, as the last people on this planet feel obligated to form some teams and invent a new sport for the contemporary aesthetic; one free of sexism, homophobia, toxic-masculinity, racism and any other form of prejudice.
Training Camp, was one of three components of THE BIG GAME. Training Camp was a place for us to not only build our sport, but to strengthen our minds and bodies for THE BIG GAME (the inaugural playing of our sport) by holding discussions about the role of sports in culture, and interacting with the various stations like: Impermanence Training, where students destroyed a tower of red boxes only to re-build it again, The Sports Factory, where we fabricated our sport, The Museum Of Broken Dreams showcasing the ancient sports gear we found, Strength and Conditioning, a working gym, and The Think Tank, a big yellow sensory deprivation tank without the water so students could process what we were learning or to just take a moment to themselves. Most things in the year 2117 are red (the photos of the ancient sports gear and the stumps) because the great blast of 2102 covered the earth in a nuclear blanket.
found objects, paint, wood, tape, paper
Some brave activists conducting rigorous impermanence training
The Sport Factory station was where we designed and physically built our sport and the required implements. Pictured here is documentation of the construction process, a ball hoop, the dodgeballs (which all have names like Amanda, Kyle, Red-Hot, and Snowball) and a scoring tracker. We are not sure what sport looked like in the past but we feel we got pretty close.
THE SPORTS FACTORY found objects, paint, hardware, cotton, string, tape, paper Dimensions vary
The following images are documentation of the implements of sports that we discovered in the secret underground repository that we have compiled into a MUSEUM. We are as confused as we are seduced by these strange items. We can only imagine how they were once used. You may notice that these items are red, most things in our world are red after the Great Blast of 2102 covered the earth in a nuclear blanket. Even our trees are red. Since we are using these objects to piece together a new sport we revere them.
THE MUSEUM OF BROKEN DREAMS found objects, paint, wood, pencil
This series of books is the second component to THE BIG GAME project. The only figures to matter enough to be included in the sports history books in a 100 years from now will be the activist athletes who used their platforms to take tremendous risk and speak out against social injustice and oppression. As such we (myself and my 15 HS student collaborators) used a different activist athlete every week as remote mentors to help guide us through the project and inspire us to be better. I made one of these single sheet books every week that gave an overview of the activist athlete's life and work. Of course we had to start with one of the most important activist athletes today, Colin Kaepernick, then retracing the lineage of protest in sports back in time from athletes standing in solidarity with Kap today like Megan Rapinoe, back to Mahmoud-Abdul Rauf, John Carlos and finally Muhammad Ali. The students were instructed to give one book to somebody outside of our project and have a discussion with that person about the specific activist athlete feature in the book.
THE HERO BOOK SERIES Single sheet books, copy paper, downloadable PDFs with content and binding instructions Unfolded piece of paper 8.5” x 11”
THE BIG GAME was the final public performance of this project that included the inaugural playing of the sport we invented. It included all of the accoutrements of a good spectacle like light and sound, an MC, a half time rap by the students about the name origins of the dodgeball, a food vendor (in collaboration with a neighboring restaurant who led discussions with the students about what food would look like a 100 years from now, like most things in our world, it is also red), inflatable clapping sticks with the logos and names of the teams, screaming die-hard fans.
THE BIG GAMESilkscreen printed ephemera, laser lights, sound (jock jams), MC, found objects, paint, vinyl, inflatable clapping sticks, paper
Like any good sporting event, snacking is a crucial element. The performances’ food options were create in collaboration with a neighboring restaurant who led discussions with the students about what food would look like in a 100 years from now. Like most things in our future world, the food is also red and includes things like Hawaiian Punch, because Hawaiian Punch WOULD last 100 years. Other red snacks included, homemade ketchup, paprika popcorn and red falafel because the future will be vegetarian because who has enough time to care for livestock when we’re trying to survive.
The half time hip hop concert: two our our activists who wrote a song about the origins of the dodgeball names.