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The Exquisite Candidate

Type: Experience Design

Collaborators: Gahee Kang, Alexa Forney, Ailun Sai, Louis Elwood Leach, Smruti Adya

Performed: Election day, November 7, 2016 in Madison Square Park

Context: Fall 2016 (3 weeks) MFA Products of Design, SVA


 

The Challenge

How might we engage the public to move past the differences highlighted in the 2016 election?

The Outcome

Created a game that invited strangers to build their ideal candidate together


 
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What It Is

Inspired by the exquisite corpse game, The Exquisite Candidate aimed to move past the differences highlighted in the 2016 election by asking participants “to build their ideal candidate—together.” Pairs of participants were asked to choose political statements that reflected both of their opinions, and use those cards to ‘build’ a candidate. The selected boards had illustrations of three body parts (head, body, and legs) printed on the back, which together formed a visual representation of their ideal candidate.

This election has been just so gross...the game was such a nice way to look beyond it.
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The Impact

More than 30 participants built their candidates in Madison Square Park—ranging from an 80-year-old Trump supporter, to policemen, to teenagers. A common theme in their experiences was how tired and disappointed they felt about this year's election. Indeed, in many cases, the game revealed differences in the paired participants’ opinions. In response to her partner's supporting the statement that guns make communities safer, one participant exclaimed, ‘what?! you crazy?’ And while they did not necessarily resolve their differences during the game, they compromised and found other statements to agree on. Not a single pair failed in choosing their statements—and completing the figure.

 

Process /  Installation