You Can Be a Winner in the Game of Class

Recalling landmark 1980s board game Life, but in a key of conceptualist critique, Richard Rinehart's blog-cum-multi-player online game directs a fish-eye lens at that great vanishing mediator of the American scene, social class. The blog features Rinehart's astute, personal insights into class's elusive markers, while an array of multiple-choice cards bearing impish questions like 'What kind of raincoat would you buy?' lead a character around the game board. With a nod to Beuys' 'social sculpture' trope, 'Reading Class' deploys the social software of blogging and interactive gaming to devise a composite map of class mobility. There's small development glitches: it's unclear how to register the presence of other players or past journeys, limiting the interactivity to 'back-end' technology of the database and the site's blog, and the character tends to drift off the board. The role of street culture in problematising social distinctions would have been good to address, too. Nonetheless, a sharp intervention in the lineage of 'They Rule' and Michael Alstad's 'Choice Maps,' plotting the material differentials of power and consumption that shape the anxious fairytale of everyday life. - Marina Vishmidt