JULY 4 – AUGUST 30, 2022
Shall Make, Shall Be: The Bill of Rights at Play
This exhibition at Federal Hall is the presentation of a curatorial project which invited 10 independent artists and game designers to create playable artworks themed around the individual amendments in the Bill of Rights, drawing on their effects, interpretations, and legal meanings in U.S. culture.
On September 25, 1789, 12 Amendments to the still fledgling U.S. Constitution were enacted at Federal Hall by the first Congress. Sent to the States for ratification, ten would be approved and become known as the Bill of Rights. Stewarded by Representative James Madison, this codification of individual rights, was an integral compromise for the unification of the United States.
Alongside this history, is the recognition and duty to communicate that this exhibit sits on Lenapehoking: a land originally inhabited by the Indigenous Lenape peoples who continue to live in New York City and beyond.
These works are intended to be understood as critical games, using the mechanisms of play to interrogate, critique, and inform common understanding of civil liberties in the 21st Century.
Curated by R. Luke DuBois, Laine Nooney, and John Sharp, Shall Make Shall Be invited artists to explore the meaning and impact of the amendments that compose the Bill of Rights. The resulting games and interactive artworks come from their points of view, and reflect on the meanings and implications of the framework used to articulate the rights of citizens.
The exhibit is presented at Federal Hall with the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy and National Park Service. Exhibition support was provided by John Chomack, Ben Crystal, Jackie Sabillon Pinto, and Shay Salehi. Special thanks to Golan Levin, Bill Rodgers, and Ellyn Toscano.
For more information, including future event schedules and the forthcoming exhibition catalog, and to join the Shall Make Shall Be email list, visit shallmakeshallbe.org.
Artists and Works
The Voices (working title)
A playable game/musical instrument/sound station that explores ideas embedded in the First Amendment.
An interactive sculpture that explores aspects of the Second Amendment via an interactive puzzle which utilizes an accidental musical composition as a timing mechanism.
Cyber Soldiers in Cyber Houses
An existential horror I-spy computer game that includes animation and narration based on the modern implications of the Third Amendment.
Latoya Peterson & Cherisse Datu
A project using the Fourth Amendment exploring how structural injustice intersects with the law to create broken systems.
Georgiana Rene Wright
A project which utilizes a visual novel (VNs) format to navigate cases that the Fifth Amendment protects citizens from, but using a Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney VN style which focuses on satire and ‘NPC to Player’ interactions.
A first person, voice-controlled video game, in which game-space is mapped onto the semantic field of the Sixth Amendment.
Arnab Chakravarty & Ian McNeely
A head-to-head match played across a two-faced arcade cabinet. Players stand on designated squares across from each other, moving to the rhythm of music.
Cruel and Usual: Evolving Standards of Decency
Danielle I. Butler
An Eighth Amendment themed pinball game, set in the complex world of our penal justice system.
Loosely adapting the legal concept of “penumbral reasoning”, the work presents a terminal-like interface on a vertical monitor.
arts.codes, Melissa Clarke & Margaret Schedel
Inspired by the separation of powers in the Tenth Amendment, v.erses is a playable interactive sound artwork with two distinct interfaces, one representing the Federal Government, and one representing the States/people.
Women in the Face of History
Curated by NYU’s Dr. Deb Willis and Ellyn Toscano, this installation on the facade was part of the 100 Years/100 Women project organized by the Park Avenue Armory with NYU and other NYC cultural partners. In 2021, six of the 100 commissioned artists, invited to interrogate the complex legacy of women’s suffrage, presented these works at Federal Hall. They included: Renee Cox, Jennifer Lin Datchuk, Rose DeSiano, Adama Delphine Fawundu, Yelaine Rodriguez and Deb Willis.