On March 16th, 2012 the Haverford College Exhibitions Program entered all 1,920 Haverford students, faculty, and staff into a single-elimination skee-ball tournament. In the opening weeks 729 played competitive games. On April 20th, after 7 rounds, only sixteen remained. Before nearly 100 spectators, The Sweet Sixteen—thirteen students, three staff members, and one member of the faculty—competed for the top prize: 12 pledges made by over one-hundred 5th round players and a trip to Greensboro, NC, to be feted by artist Lee Walton and friends. At 1:15pm, the final game was played: Nick Kahn ’14, a double-major in English and French, versus Director of Communications and Haverford alumnus, Chris Mills ’82. With Chris on lane 1 and Nick on lane 3, they began their round together. Chris finished first with a score of 290; Nick had one ball left and a score of 260. Continue reading
Silverdocs, the most talked about documentary festival in the United States, starts today! A seven-day international film festival and five-day concurrent conference that promotes documentary film as a leading art form, Silverdocs makes a point of supporting work of independent filmmakers and this year one of those they’re supporting is Julie Wyman, the filmmaker behind Strong!. Wyman and her film Strong!, along with the film’s subject, Olympic weight lifter Cheryl Haworth, came to Haverford in March as part of And the Winner is Nick Kahn and have been hard at work travelling and sharing Cheryl’s extraordinary story through Julie’s wonderful film ever since. It seems the hard work is paying off as the Washington Post recently named Strong! one of ten films not to miss at Silverdocs. If you happen to be in or around the Washington D.C. area this week be sure not to miss Strong! at Silverdocs!
Having grown up skateboarding, I have long been connected and obsessed with stickers and sticker culture. I know stickers (especially in skateboarding) began as a simple and cost effective means of branding for companies, but there’s something about the iconography of stickers and stickering I simply can’t ignore. To me there’s more embedded in the adhesive than a company name. There’s personality, choice, identification, proclamation, and other nuanced personal connections and stories for days. This is perhaps why I am so excited to see the stickers that have surfaced in Philadelphia touting the title and the final truth of the exhibition And the Winner is Nick Kahn. After a long tough tournament Nick was declared the winner thus changing the exhibition’s name and in turn making Nick a brand. And what a brand! Who doesn’t love a winner, especially one as endearing and enjoyable to watch as Nick. He displayed and unbridled excitement for his win and has carried that joy on into the various participatory prizes he has claimed. Nick and his achievements, like those of all winners is something worth cheering and I for one am glad to see the news of his win being spread far and wide!
Farewell, And the Winner is Nick Kahn! Here’s a video documentation reel I finished today:
Here’s the cover of the Spring 2012 issue of Cabinet Magazine. Skee-ball, skee-ball everywhere! The issue includes “The Games Game Theorists Play” by Order of the Third Bird member and Princeton Professor of History, D. Graham Burnett, who joined visiting artist Sal Randolph for a meeting of the Order at Magill Library on April 4th.
In his essay Burnett explores the game “So Long, Sucker,” arguing that it is
… something more than a liberal pessimist Cold War mini-drama. It is also a gamified tutorial in the circumscribed utility of traditional game theory itself—a kind of penitential rite for those excessively enamored with calculating reason: call it game-penance for game theorists.
Just overheard a discussion of the complications of paying for skee-ball in the non-Haver-world. Free games feel like less pressure, but there is an allure to paying $2 for 6 balls when there’s a chance to win a gigantic teddy bear.
Tomorrow, John Muse and I depart for Portland, OR to once again attend the Open Engagement conference held at Portland State University, a yearly gathering of social practice artists, theorists, and enthusiasts. Last year we attended the conference to talk through our ideas for what was then And the Winner is… with curators, artists, and other interested individuals. In Portland we received a ton of wonderful feedback and encouragement. We’re looking forward to going back to Portland to share our stories about And the Winner is Nick Kahn and to cook up new ideas for future projects. However, before we take off for Portland once more we should thank those people from last year’s conference who were so kind to give their time, insight, and assistance to our grand idea. Thank you Jennifer Delos Reyes, Harrell Fletcher, Pato Hebert, Catherine Greenblatt, and Jesikah Maria Ross!
This is my room-mate and friend, David Robinson, serving my custom-mixed sauce and drink. He did remember the ice cubes. Some other highlights include him having to peel at least 6 oranges for everyone present. This is funny because he is notorious for asking outrageous favors, one of his favorites being to ask others to peel his oranges so that he can eat them. I also asked him to go to the chicken tenders and ask the server for an entire plate. He returned with a mountainous pile of tenders which we all shared. For dessert I requested a root beer float, which he made very well.
Yesterday, Nick Kahn sent me the following report on his Friday, May 11th experience with Professor Alex Norquist, who had pledged “to spend 30 minutes blowing stuff up” with the winner:
Hey John, I did a little write-up on the plane. Sorry it’s so long; as Mark Twain said, I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.
I met Professor Norquist in his office, and after having congratulated me (which still makes me feel strange), he took me downstairs into a sort of garage that the INSC has. He had already loaded up a cart full of fun explosives. Continue reading