Sixteen Tons
physical game, 2010
created with Nathalie Pozzi

Sixteen Tons is a physical game I created with Architect Nathalie Pozzi. In Sixteen Tons, four players play a strategy game using heavy sections of steel pipe as the pieces of the game. At the beginning of the game, players take out three dollar bills from their wallets. This money is used to pay other players to move your pieces for you during the game. The play of Sixteen Tons combines strategic with social thinking. The strategy game is simple to solve – but the socal game is impossible to predict.

The rules are ambiguous about what to do with the money in hand at the end of the game. Some players return the three dollars back to their owners. Other players decide to play for keeps – or even increase the stakes and play with bigger bills. Money passes hands with the intensity of a betting pit in the white cube of the gallery. Sixteen Tons premiered at the Kai Lin art gallery in Feb 2010.

Sixteen Tons was one of three games commissioned by the Art History of Games conference, put on by Savannah College of Art & Design and Georgia Tech in January 2010. Special thanks to Molo Design for sponsorsing the walls, Stephen Bodnar at SCAD for fabricating the game pieces, and John Sharp for his tireless support and assistance.

In May 2010, Sixteen Tons was exhibited at the "No Quarter" exhibition of games at the NYU Game Center. Thanks to the Game Center for considerable assistance in bringing the work to New York. Frank Lantz and Charles Pratt wrote a wonderful curatorial statement about the work.

Some links:

> Curatorial statement for the NYU exhibition
> Sixteen Tons on Architizer
> Nathalie Pozzi

copyright © 2010 eric zimmerman
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