Call for Game Proposals

Thursday May 31, 2012 at 11pm PST
Dates of Participation: 
See "key dates" below for details
Presentations in San Jose and San Francisco

Call Information:
How would you transform Silicon Valley into your playground and use technology to create community and craft news kinds of participatory and inclusive urban interactions? For this call, we seek submissions from California-based artists and artist teams for interactive games that utilize technology for live playing in public space that would work within the dynamic festival contexts of both the ZERO1 Biennial as well as Come Out & Play (San Francisco), which will have its exhibition hub at SOMArts Cultural Center.

All proposed games must be as of yet untested and unrealized.  A panel of game judges, including ZERO1 Curator and Director of Programs Jaime Austin, Come Out & Play Festival co-founder Catherine Herdlick and SOMArts Curator and Gallery Director Justin Hoover, will select three artists/artist groups to bring their game concepts to a private weekend prototyping workshop with the San Francisco Come Out & Play Collective at SOMArts Cultural Center. This workshop will take place June 30th and July 1 from 10am-3pm.

Based on playtests during the workshop, the game judges will select one of these three games to receive a $10,000 realization grant to present it twice, first as an alpha version during the opening weekend of the ZERO1 Biennial in downtown San Jose’s SoFA District between September 14-16, 2012, and again as a beta version at this year’s Come Out & Play Festival at SOMArts Cultural Center between November 17th and December 8th, 2012.

Criteria for Submission:
All game proposals must have a technology component, however defined by the applicant, and connect to the theme of the 2012 ZERO1 Biennial, Seeking Silicon Valley. This could entail the use of web-based interactive elements, augmented reality, mobile devices/applications, home-made electronics, or other elements. These games will be presented on the street, in public and must be inclusive projects. Submissions could be single player, multiplayer, quickplay, on-going, role playing, physical, conceptual, performative, durational or other. Submissions should be suitable for the general public and make creative use of the environments and patterns therein.

The budget is $10,000, including all travel, equipment, facilitation, and set up. It is expected that you or someone you designate will be present at both events. This project is supported by ZERO1 and The James Irvine Foundation and SOMArts Cultural Center.

Eligibility: 18 years and older. Lead artist must live in California.

Criteria for Selection: 
All games will be judged according to their playability (defined as ease of play, clarity of goals, logic of rules, effectiveness of feedback systems), fun-ness, originality, compelling use of space, creative use of technology, sociability potential, and aesthetic potential. Additionally, games will be judged by the degree to which they challenge public spaces, overall viability, and connection to the theme of “Seeking Silicon Valley.”

Application Process:
The application process is online. Applicants are required to submit 3 separate pdf files (3MB limit per file):

  • A written proposal (max. of 4 pages) including game title, project description (200 words max), description of intended audience, mechanics and rules outline, technology requirements list, integration with public space statement (200 words max), a list of questions to resolve during workshop and playtesting, and a budget that fits the parameters of the award
  • Bios of primary participants (max. 1 page)
  • Examples of past work with title, description, embedded or live links to images, and live links to video, as appropriate. Please provide no more than 10 images and 2 videos of past, related work. 

Key Dates

  • Submissions will be accepted beginning Thursday, May 3, 2012 and will close on Thursday May 31st at 11pm PST.
  • The three selected game designers will be announced Monday, June 4th, 2012.
  • Workshop for selected artists: June 30 and July 1, 10am–3pm at SOMArts Cultural Center Classroom located at 934 Brannan Street, San Francisco, CA 94123
  • Public Debut of Winning Game, Alpha Version, at the ZERO1 Biennial: Between September 14-16, 2012
  • Beta Version of Winning Game for Come Out & Play Festival at SOMArts: Between November 17-December 8, 2012.

The ZERO1 Biennial—produced by ZERO1: The Art and Technology Network and distributed throughout Silicon Valley and the greater Bay Area—is North America’s most significant showcase of work at the nexus of art and technology. Through exhibitions, public art, performances, and speaker events the ZERO1 Biennial presents work by a global community of innovative artists who are reshaping contemporary culture. Established in 2006, the ZERO1 Biennial has presented the work of over 500 artists from 50+ countries, commissioned 80 original works of art, and attracted over 100,000 visitors from around the world.

Renowned globally as a hub of entrepreneurship and innovation, Silicon Valley is notoriously difficult to experience. Under the thematic Seeking Silicon Valley, the 2012 ZERO1 Biennial proposes that contemporary art practice can re-imagine the idea, the place, and the experience of Silicon Valley and begin to transform a region synonymous with technology into a publicly accessible network of activity, exploration, and provocation.

Come Out & Play is an annual festival of street games that turns New York City & San Francisco into a giant playground. The 3rd annual Come Out & Play Festival in San Francisco will take place in November.

SOMArts Cultural Center embraces the entire spectrum of arts practice and cultural identity, and it is beloved in San Francisco as a truly multicultural, community-built space where cutting-edge events and counterculture commingle with traditional art forms. Founded in 1979, the mission of SOMArts is to promote and nurture art on the community level, and to foster an appreciation of and respect for all cultures.

For any questions please contact