commemorating the bill of rights with fun and games

"Shall Make, Shall Be" an exhibition playing with the Bill of Rights

Federal Hall's Grand Rotunda will host the exhibition

Federal Hall, New York, October 29, 2021 - Federal Hall National Memorial will commemorate the 230th anniversary of the Bill of Rights in an unexpected way: with an exhibition of games. “Shall Make, Shall Be: The Bill of Rights at Play'' will open in Federal Hall’s Grand Rotunda from December 3, 2021 and run through January 28, 2022 to commemorate the enactment of the Bill of Rights.

The exhibition includes ten commissioned games, each treating one of the first ten amendments to the US Constitution. Ten artists, game designers, and collectives were selected through an open call to produce games about individual amendments to the Constitution: (Melissa F. Clarke and Margaret Schedel); Peter Bradley; Danielle Isadora Butler; Arnab Chakravarty, Moaw!, and Ian McNeely; Cherisse Datu and Latoya Peterson; Ryan Kuo; Andy Malone; Shawn Pierre, Vi Trinh; and Lexa Walsh. 

The initiative makes space for artists to engage an explicitly polemical curatorial question: how can we use play to investigate, problematize, and re-frame the documents that serve as the foundation of U.S. political experience? Presented as interactive installations, the artists’ games take familiar forms—puzzles, arcade games, and popular video game genres, among others. Unlike many games, the exhibited works provide visitors to Federal Hall with a unique opportunity to consider the underpinnings of what it means to be an American.

The “Shall Make, Shall Be: The Bill of Rights at Play” exhibition was organized by three New York City academics, with material support from Carnegie Mellon University, New York University, and The New School’s Parsons School of Design: R. Luke DuBois, Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Integrated Design & Media program at the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, who conceived of the initiative; Laine Nooney, Assistant Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, & Human Development; and John Sharp, Professor of Games and Learning at Parsons School of Design at The New School. A fourth educator, Golan Levin, Co-Director of the Frank-Ratchye STUDIO for Creative Inquiry and Professor of Electronic Art at Carnegie Mellon University, serves as executive producer of the project.

“Shall Make, Shall Be: The Bill of Rights at Play” is co-presented at Federal Hall with the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy.

Shall Make, Shall Be:
Federal Hall: Renee Barnes, [email protected]
New York University: Karl Greenberg, [email protected]
The New School: Will Wilbur, [email protected]
Carnegie Mellon University: Golan Levin, [email protected]

Parsons School of Design at The New School is one of the leading institutions for art and design education in the world. Based in New York but active around the world, the school offers undergraduate and graduate programs in the full spectrum of art and design disciplines, as well as online courses, degree and certificate programs. Critical thinking and collaboration are at the heart of a Parsons education. Parsons graduates are leaders in their respective fields, with a shared commitment to creatively and critically addressing the complexities of life in the 21st century.


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Media Contacts:

Will Wilbur,
The New School
[email protected]

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