Lucy has two aces, you’d better fold… Raphael has nothing, he’s bluffing…
On Monday nights in June and July, Melissa Brown transformed Where’s shipping container into a poker lounge. Our webcam became an “eye in the sky,” a portal for spies and accomplices, as players wagered their artwork among other forms of currency.
The games were broadcast live via webcam, as were the players’ phone numbers. Remote viewers could see their hands, and could reach them at any time to help them cheat—or throw them off their game.
Where’s webcam channeled the broad consensus that shapes value into a literal, microcosmic “eye in the sky,” through which remote callers influenced the outcomes for artists who wagered their work. Brown considers this a test of how collective perception influences value in art, and we would add that she also set up an almost impossible test of the many meanings of the word “fidelity.”
To conclude the series, Brown hosted a reverse-engineered “group show” of all the winnings—and losings—of tournament wagers. Where’s open blackjack table at the closing reception proved, once again, that the house always wins.
“Eye in the Sky Hold’em” was the first in our series of Special Events, in which individual artists co-opt Where’s shipping container as their own personal field station.
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