The Jackman Goldwasser Facade Gallery –a billboard-sized projection wall on the front of the Art Center — features the live animated digital video by Chicago-based artist Kristin McWharter just in time for the football season. Football Practice is an experiment in visualizing the archetypes, stereotypes, and desires that are enmeshed in the narratives of professional sports.The software runs in real-time with AI athletes driven by the motivations of how workshop participants reimagined players for a speculative hybrid sport. This exhibition marks the close of a two-year development process and is an opportunity to witness what new narratives this virtual team embodies as they play.
From 2020 to 2022, a series of online public workshops organized by VGA gallery and the artist engaged participants to discuss the cultural impacts they experienced surrounding American football and design their speculative players for a reimagined game. The complex discussion involves how fandom, inclusion, exclusion, gender, race, class, and consensual violence contribute to forming an American identity. These online conversations and the attributes of the players the participants designed laid the groundwork for a dynamic team of artists and developers to create the simulation software that reimagined American football.