Colorado Springs: The Game. Imagine it as an actual arcade-style, two-player creation complete with a downtown, a Powers Boulevard corridor and a Pikes Peak. Streams of cars shuttling to places of work and leisure on a dotted track, à la Pac-Man. Irony (maybe) not included.
A game that could be like this — a piece of art titled Flux — will debut next spring, possibly as early as April. It's part of AWOL: Art Without Limits, the name given to the ambitious schedule for the Gallery of Contemporary Art at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. The eight or nine "projects" comprising AWOL are the brainchild of 26-year-old interim gallery director Caitlin Green.
Heavy renovation, involving painting and asbestos-stripping, in the building surrounding the gallery will keep it closed until next spring. Gallery exhibitions would still be possible (and safe), but Green feels its location on campus is hard to reach anyway and adds, "It just seems like this is an incredible opportunity for us to do something different."
The majority of the projects on the AWOL docket (still fluid as far as logistics and funding are concerned) defy simple title descriptions.
"A lot of the projects that I'm looking at are really performative or event-based," Green says. "Happenings, but not in the '70s, strange sense of the word."
A few of the projects are revamped versions of past events, including Flaunt, a fashion and performance art event that had taken place under the Colorado Avenue bridge for two years before 2008's was cancelled.
Projects such as Flux share the community-oriented bent, but with a playful twist. Green explains that starting tentatively later this summer, Christopher Coleman and Laleh Mehran, University of Denver instructors and directors of the CO-LAB interdisciplinary initiative, will survey hundreds of Springs locals, questioning them about how they map the city, what their landmarks are, what the local social issues are, and whether they enjoy living here.
After gathering the information, Coleman, Mehran and their students will build several Colorado Springs arcade games and cart them throughout the city for six months to a year.
"When you do a project that's outside this formal space, you get all kinds of people who had no idea they're about to see this thing," Green says, "and they can interact with it in a very different way."