Mobile Learning Institute and Institute of Play

ARTLAB+ Game Design 2011

Playing with Art

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ARTLAB+ Game Design 2011 was a four-day camp for teens based at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC. From July 11-14, teens stepped into the role of game designers and art interpreters tasked with delivering mobile games for the Hirshhorn's teen visitors. The young designers used the Hirshhorn as both inspiration and design space, interpreting art, incorporating fundamental design concepts and making location-based games that envision the Hirshhorn—and its collection—through a game-like lens.

The Approach

To develop ARTLAB+Game Design's interdisciplinary curriculum, Institute of Play assembled a diverse team of experts who collaborated to refine learning activities, playtest games and develop learning strategies. The Institute's team of designers and curriculum developers were joined by Hirshhorn ARTLAB educators, mobile specialists from Parsons the New School for Design, and developers from the open-source mobile game development platform ARIS. The result is an active and engaging curriculum in which teens step into the role of art detectives and game designers to re-envision the Hirshhorn's art works and spaces through a game-like lens.

Tasked with constructing playful experiences to introduce other teen visitors to the museum's collection, ARTLAB+Game Design encouraged the use of the Hirshhorn as a site-specific game space. Working with iPhones, digital and analog design tools, and ARIS game-development platform, teens learned the fundamentals of art interpretation and game design by analyzing and remixing art works, and by creating and refining location-based games. Hands-on and challenge-based activities empowered teens to imagine the Hirshhorn as a game space where players use mobile devices to trade and capture artworks, deploy GPS tags to superimpose sound and video onto architectural spaces, and create game-worlds based on their own interpretations and interests. The curriculum was built around the following competencies: iteration and game design, systems-thinking, art analysis and interpretation, data and informationliteracy, computational thinking, analog and digital tool use, teamwork and creative problem-solving.

Download a PDF of the curriculum here.