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Indian Artist Duo Thukral & Tagra Brings Their Interactive “Art Games” to The Fed Galleries @ KCAD

Posted November 14, 2016 in Gallery

A new exhibition coming to Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University’s (KCAD’s) The Fed Galleries @ KCAD invites viewers of all ages to explore the relationship between art and play.

Opening November 15, Walk of Life showcases Indian artist duo Thukral & Tagra, who since 2004 have intrigued audiences around the world with collaborative work that blurs the lines between fine art and popular culture, product placement and exhibition design, and artistic inspiration and media hype. The pair’s immersive and often interactive projects incorporate a wide array of media including painting, sculpture, installation, film, and design to comment on the globalization of consumer culture, particularly in terms of how that transition is shaping contemporary India.

Thukral & Tagra’s latest work channels their playful and humorous brand social commentary into the realm of gaming. Walk of Life will feature two versions of a playable board game of the same name that the duo developed as a way to examine the idea of “play” from cultural, strategic, and psychological perspectives.

Walk of Life gameWalk of Life by Thukral & Tagra (image courtesy of the artist)

The first version of the game revolves around the concept of karma. As players navigate the game board, they encounter various “blessings” and “curses” that either propel them closer to victory or set them further back, and there are numerous opportunities to make choices – both good and bad – that impact both other players’ futures in the game as well as their own.

The second version of the game builds on the first by adding an element of collective decision making. In addition to obtaining “blessings” and “curses” through chance, players must work together to conserve as much water in the game’s finite collective reservoir as possible. Individual players can gain and lose water through their own decision making process, and must exit the game if their individual supply of water is exhausted. If the entire reservoir is depleted, then the game is considered a collective loss.

Walk of Life gameWalk of Life by Thukral & Tagra (image courtesy of the artist)

The Fed Galleries @ KCAD staff members will be on hand throughout the run of the exhibition to lead viewers through gameplay. Curator of Exhibitions Michele Bosak says Walk of Life offers visitors to The Fed Galleries @ KCAD a unique opportunity to shape their own engagement with the work on display.

“The participatory nature of Thukral & Tagra’s work really enables people to connect to the ideas and questions that are being raised in a more direct way. The issue of resource scarcity, for instance, becomes much more real to us when we’re experiencing it firsthand in the context of the game, where our actions and decisions have a direct impact on the bigger picture. I can’t wait to see how visitors interact with this exhibition.”

Walk of Life gameWalk of Life by Thukral & Tagra (image courtesy of the artist)

Both versions of the game are inspired by an ancient Indian game called Ganjifa, characterized by lavishly decorated playing cards. Walk of Life will also feature a series of paintings Thukral & Tagra created based on these cards.

Also opening on November 15 is Hearts and Bones, a solo exhibition featuring the work of Grand Rapids artist Mandy Cabo Villalobos. The exhibition combines video, drawings and object-based works to investigate the bodily implications of ritual. Cano’s choice of materials includes dirt, hair, blood, and breast milk–elements rich with cultural memory and symbolism that invite layered interpretations.

work by Mandy Cano VillalobosWork by Mandy Cabo Villalobos (image courtesy of the artist) 

Walk of Life and Hearts and Bones will run from November 15, 2016 through January 28, 2017. Admission to The Fed Galleries is free of charge. For gallery hours and more information, visit kcad.edu/galleries

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