The YKON Game is based on a simple thought experiment: Imagine
that the world is brought to a complete halt. Everything stops. No
more business as usual. With the world being frozen, you and your
fellow players can tinker with the world as you please. What will
you change? How do you convince others to go along with your
changes? And what about the consequences? In short: The YKON Game
is a workshop, party and therapy session in one.
The immediate goal of The YKON Game is to function as a catalyst
for utopian thinking. Bridging art, design and education, the game
seeks to uncover ideas and novel scenarios that have not yet been
YKON / The YKON Game was born out of the legacy of the 2003 Summit
of Micronations, which took place in Helsinki at the
Finlandia Hall. The YKON Game was a response to the shortcomings
of the traditional seminar models employed in the Summit. The
official character of these interactions – which imitated the
structure of a G8 Summit – formed trenches between the discussing
sides, created hierarchies and emphasized difference rather than
shared concerns and approaches.
The YKON Game is inspired by the World Game, the most important
invention of seminal architect and utopian thinker Buckminster
Fuller. The World Game was created as a subversion of so-called
military "War Games" and as a proposal for an alternate system of
pedagogy: a game, rather than a curriculum, as the main platform
of learning. It was intended as a tool to formulate competing,
comprehensive design-science approaches to all the problems of the
planet earth. Fuller choose to call his vision a “game” because he
wanted it seen as something that was accessible to everyone, not
just the elite few in the power structure who thought they were
running the show.
Fuller conceived the World Game in a time when electronic networks
such as the Internet were not a daily reality. Although he
anticipated some of the later developments, Fullers World Game of
the 1960s suffered from a lack of real-time data and image
streams, global communications across borders and other digital
tools. We see it as YKON's task to merge Fullers analogue World
Game with the opportunities and tools provided by the Internet and
our digital age.
The long term goal of the project is to develop the game into a
complete modular structure so it can be adapted to a wide range of
contexts, age groups, durations, functionalities, both offline and
online. We hope that The YKON Game can become a true community
tool that would enable anybody to think about the world in a
bigger picture while finding practical utopian solutions to
Although the project is still in the middle of its development, it
promises to deliver a beautiful vision: the merger of utopian
thinking, educational ambition and modern game play within the
legacy of Buckminster Fuller.
We wish to acknowledge Medard Gabel for inspiration, who visited
YKON in Helsinki and facilitate a Future Game at Helsinki Art
Here you can
download the YKON Game Package.
Space, London, UK (June)
Communikey Festival in Bolder, Colorado, USA (April)
Interaction Design Week at DVK, Split, Croatia (Workshop)
Baltic Games at Brut, Vienna, Austria
Mercosul Biennial in Porto Alegre, Brazil
DMY Jury Selection 2011 Bauhaus Archiv Museum für Gestaltung,
37 Manifestos at Berliner Kunsthalle e.V., Forum Factory, Berlin,
DMY Festival Tempelhof Airport, Berlin, Germany
Happy Together, Tallin Art Hall, Estonia
Mal Au Pixel, Paris, France
Heavens, 2nd Athens Biennial, Athens, Greece
SIM Residency, Reykjavik, Island
Lens Politica, Helsinki, Finland
MINE YOURS OURS Festival, Rijeka, Croatia
Subvision Art Festival, Hamburg, Germany
IS THIS LIKE MONOPOLY?
No, the YKON game is not like monopoly.
WHAT IS THE YKON GAME?
The YKON Game is a beautifully bizarre journey and collective
attempt to alter the World. Instead of solving the common problems
that we are facing, The YKON GAME seeks to uncover the ideas that
we haven’t payed attention to yet – ideas that are sometimes
wonderful & sometimes terrifying. Other thoughts that could
forever alter the world & the way we live in it.
WHY WOULD ONE PLAY SUCH A GAME?
The YKON Game, as many other reality games, can be seen as life
plus: it presents life with the additional possibility of fiction.
A platform where one can test hypothetical scenarios, experiment
with what it would be like to be different, or simply altering a
dull situation. By playing the YKON Game one can leave the
Everyday temporarily behind and start playing with it, considering
things outside ones own thought patterns. A transcendental journey
if you wish.
IS IT HARD TO PLAY?
No, there are rules, fictional secenarios, future propositions and
there is us. We are already familiar with rules. In our everyday
life, we constantly follow all kinds of rules. If we go to a café,
we know how we should order and use the tables. Moving outside the
café, we follow traffic rules. Then there is etiquette and
traditions providing day-to-day manuals of how to conduct our
lives and deal with problems. Reality games use the constant
presence of rules as their own basis: adding new rules to it.
Fictional scenarios work in a similar fashion. We have no
difficulty to play along a fire drill exercise. Friendly YKONauts
will guide you through the process and party with you.
WHEN AND WHERE CAN I PLAY IT NEXT?
Whenever you please, just invite us! We’re easy travelers,
well-behaved, good company and have a great appetite. In return
we’ll fill up your senses and take you along on an mind-expanding
SO, THIS IS JUST A GAME?
Game is a vital tool for engaging people in unconventional ways..
But we have also developed an intense workshop format including
game mechanics and modules from The YKON Game to enhance your idea
development and learn how to use these strategies for a critical
approach to design and creating problem-solving tools. If you want
it less intense yet pleasingly participatory we can offer The YKON
Game as an exhibition with individual interaction devices that
subtly instigate a personal process for change towards a practical