This fall the source code for Fantasy Collecting, a pedagogical and research tool inspired by Fantasy Football and developed at Duke University, became publicly available on GitHub.
You may think you “know good art when you see it,” but this online art game will test your mettle as a tastemaker. Art fans, hackers, educators, and economists everywhere can now use Fantasy Collecting to both become the proud owners of masterpieces and attempt to mint new ones.
For those new to the notion of “fantasy art collecting” (which likely includes most of us), the Fantasy Collecting game is a classroom teaching and research tool that uses the pulse-pounding, high adrenaline activity of a virtual art market to teach art history and economics. Students try their hands at strategically increasing their collections’ value by promoting, acquiring, and trading works of art while performing micro-scholarship in the process.
Game co-designers Katherine Jentleson (Ph.D. Candidate in the Art, Art History, and Visual Studies department and member of the Duke Art, Law and Markets Initiative) and William Shaw (Duke University Libraries’ Digital Humanities Technology Consultant with the Humanities Writ Large initiative) developed and tested the game with art history and economics classes before preparing the code for public release under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. Thanks to a collaboration with Duke’s Nasher Museum of Art, students were able to play first with works from the world-renowned contemporary art collection of Duke alumni Jason Rubell and later with the 1,000+ permanent collection works that the Nasher has digitized as part of its eMuseum.
Built as a teaching tool with many potential applications, the game can now be used by others as a supplement to classroom and book learning, as a basis for research studies on topics like art preferences and auction behavior, or even just for casual play. The flexibility of the code allows new users to populate the game with images relevant to his or her teaching or research goals, determine the length of desired rounds of the game, and customize game events that incentivize players to meet challenges like writing “vision statements” about their collections. Documentation and explanatory videos provided along with the code offer instruction on how the game and game play work, and specifically how it was used for art history instruction.
The three videos below explain the concept and purpose behind the Fantasy Collecting game, the rules of game play (including video captures), as well as educational outcomes and student engagement.
Game Play: http://youtu.be/i8QG2bexQKM