Occupy White Walls – the game that aims to turn 500 million people into virtual art collectors
How many extra Caravaggios are there? I have almost 30 of these on my gallery walls and it all looks a little dark. I tried to brighten up the place with a few dozen Van Goghs at the top of my baroque staircase, but now my space lacks cohesion. I am forced to admit that, given the infinite space and funds to create a virtual art gallery in Occupy the white walls, I let all good taste fly out the window. My gallery is irremediably garish. Maybe I should start over.
I decide to take inspiration from the creations of other players. Like me, they chose from thousands of architectural assets to build a gallery, then filled it with some of the game’s 30,000 real works of art, including pieces from the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the National Gallery in London.
It is a fundamental law of gaming that with a creative sandbox, players will create worlds that in various ways exceed all reasonable standards of beauty, humor, imagination, immaturity, and ugliness to you. tighten the stomach. There is an art gallery designed to look like the periodic table and another based on Alice in Wonderland, where you admire art while falling down a rabbit hole. There’s also a model of a Stasi interrogation chamber and a gallery owner who tries to tell the whole story of star wars using the fine arts.
Each gallery tells the story of its curator through its architecture and artwork, says game creator Yarden Yaroshevski. “Our biggest learning is that people’s taste in art is as unique as a fingerprint,” he tells me in a video interview, “and we have the data to prove it.”
Yaroshevski left his hometown of Jerusalem 20 years ago and now lives in north London. Beneath tortoiseshell glasses and flying hair, he gesticulates wildly as he exhibits one of his many strong opinions. After touching media and technology, he imagined Occupy the white walls as a solution to what he sees as elitism and the inaccessibility of the art world. “It’s a crime in the art world to put works of art at a distance, so you have to go to a museum and have them explained to you. We tell people that you can go out and make the art your own.
Players can do this by exploring a huge range of art in Occupy the white walls of the House. They can zoom into any room and read information about the artist. They can also check out the game’s AI art discovery tool, which tracks their actions and suggests other works they might like or buy for their galleries. Users can browse and comment on the works, which are also posted on the Kultura website, a sister project that’s designed for people who want to try the art discovery tool without the video game pitfalls. It’s all part of a planned art game ecosystem that will expand to include an app and casual mobile game.
Anyone can upload their own art into the game for a fee of $7, which means Occupy the white walls has also become a platform for budding artists to gain an audience. Rosa Francesca, a 29-year-old digital artist from Leamington Spa, has never sold work or exhibited in a museum, but entire virtual galleries have been devoted to her female characters influenced by horror in the game.
“It’s really crazy when I go through the game and see my art on someone’s wall,” she says. “All you want as an artist is for someone to feel something, and it’s so easy to see in this game that someone actually felt it.”
Yaroshevski argues that these virtual galleries are in many ways superior to their real-life counterparts. Their wall space is unlimited, they can be accessed from anywhere, and they can be personalized to the tastes of each visitor rather than imposing traditional notions of an artistic canon. While some of his arguments in our conversation pass without merit, and the game itself still has some issues, the virtual art world could certainly use an evangelist just as zealously.
“We want to be the final base destination for any art ever created, past and future, to receive the Van Gogh of the next century,” he says. “People in the art market say there are only 20,000 real collectors in the world, but I think we’re going to have 500 million people on this platform, each with an art collection from the size of Tate Britain, whatever their age, their wealth, their geography – it doesn’t matter. And the world will be a better place because of it.
Despite the demagoguery, I feel inspired. I rush to my gallery, firm in my new conviction: you can never have too many Caravaggios.
“Occupy White Walls” is now available for free on Steam for PC