New Stories of Finnish Art, UrbanApa X Ateneum Festival, Ateneum Museum, Helsinki, Finland (tabletop role-playing game)
Performance: October 5, 2019
New Stories of Finnish Art is a tabletop role-playing game in which participants invent characters as a means to reimagine and reinterpret dominant narratives of Finnish art history.
Players perform their role by deciding and describing what actions their chosen character will take within the rules of the game. Through collaborative storytelling, participants get to be involved in the creative production and presentation of Finnish art, which is typically restricted to gallery exhibits of visual art. New Stories of Finnish Art poses an alternative to traditional modes of observation and consumption found in art museums. Art in this instance is no longer something that is simply commemorated as being created in the past or that exists within imagined cultural groupings. Through play, this game invites us to experience art in a more holistic way, as something that we produce through the ways in which we interact with it.
The game is intended for everyone, and you do not require prior knowledge of art history or gaming experience to participate.
When I arrived in Helsinki in 2017 I made several visits to Ateneum Museum’s Stories of Finnish Art exhibition. As a newcomer I found it fairly challenging to grasp the cultural significance of Ateneum’s most celebrated works and stories. In response I developed a game in order to reimagine the collection differently, in a more playful way, so that I was able to identify with it more readily.
Read a game review article here.