Among the artworks featured in Infrastructural Complex: Alter(ed) Earth, a programme curated for this year’s festival by programme manager Tjaša Pogačar, is also a dystopian board game Extractor by Simon Denny. Extractor maps the possible dynamics of global data-driven businesses or ‘platforms’ as they compete for world domination. The vast accumulation of data needed for this goal is set against a backdrop of aggressively ‘extractive’ business practices and the impact they have on the planet. The commercially produced board game includes critical essays and a rule book, custom-made injection moulded plastic pieces, offset print on various paper and card stock, and vacuum formed packaging components.
The goal of the game is to build a data platform that you begin to develop as a small start-up using a free ‘cloud’ computing service, similar to Amazon Web Services’ Free Tier cloud subscription. Your platform is represented by a player token in the form of a robotlike figure, modelled after a sculpture by the artist Nam June Paik. As you gradually improve the infrastructure of your service, you begin to use paid cloud services before setting up your own proprietary cloud hosted on private server farms. Each level allows for accelerated data accumulation, propelling you towards a meteoric win with maximum data on your proprietary cloud. The profitability of your platform increases with every level, as do the risks involved. You receive help from your ‘virtual assistant’ (similar to Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri), who keeps you up to date with news and instructions, such as notices of government regulation policy updates or climate change-related events.
Extractor can be played in a group of up to 6 people. Due to restrictive measures, it is highly recommended that all players are members of the same household. The three game sets that are available (in English and German) can be shipped to anywhere in Slovenia, for now, via regular mail until the end of 2020. The sets can be borrowed for a maximum of ten days by sending us an e-mail at email@example.com with your data (full name and address) and a statement in which you agree to return the game undamaged within 14 days or pay compensation in the amount of 40 euros. The shipping costs will be covered by us.