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Vanillaedizioni | ARSCODE – the game of art

Interview with DIEGO SANTAMARIA by Francesca Di Giorgio*

*Drawn from espoarte.net

Card games are literally inside some of the most famous works of art in the world. On the subject we can mention Picasso, Cézanne and Caravaggio, some of them even passionate gamers in reality.
Con ARSCODE – the game of art, the overturning takes place and it is the works of a selection of contemporary artists that enter a card game. An apparently simple and immediate process that has already aroused a lot of interest from national newspapers and blogs that have grasped the spirit with which, in a difficult time like this, the project conceived by was born Diego Santamaria of Vanillaedizioni.
Now that all the details of the operation have been defined e ARSCODE it's about to get into everyone's hands, we had a chat with the author about how such a project is born and how we can have the new game of art at home, in time for next Christmas…

Diego Santamaria

Con ARSCODE you turn players into art collectors but you too have undergone a "mutation": from publisher to author. Practically, where did you start from to start building the game and what were the construction phases to get to the final product?
Since I was a kid I remember drawing board games, more for a desire to create and invent than for a real ability. I have always been able to create "things" and everything that is my professional career is the demonstration.
But you ask me to ARSCODE: the idea of ​​the game was born exactly in 2017. I started thinking about it, to elucubrate, to create it mentally. The sprint was given to me by the first episode of the TV series “Riviera”, thanks to a fabulous incipit on the world of art and collecting (which I inserted on the first page of the catalogue/regulation to stop that electrocution). The blow to the rim was settled shortly thereafter, thanks to a stand at the fair. Given the small passing public, so as not to get overwhelmed by boredom, I took the tablet and keyboard out of my bag and started writing most of what you will find in the game today.
The whole, then, remained closed in a folder, along with a couple of notebooks, to sketch, a idee, until last lockdown in March, when it returned to my hand almost by accident and – given the particular moment we were experiencing it has transformed from a simple idea to a project with a development and execution path. There would be many stories and many anecdotes to tell, but for now I won't bore you any longer... I'll cut directly to today: in a few days the game will be in our hands. What an emotion!

ARSCODE – the game of art, back of playing cards

From publisher to author we said, even if you can talk about ARSCODE like a real self-production where you dressed different clothes in one. Self-producing a game means taking charge of all the design work: graphics, drafting of the regulation, materials processing, canning, advertising and distribution… You can tell your experience of crowdfunding here…
Truly a poignant adventure. An intense challenge, particular. But full of emotion. All positive. From presenting the project to the artists I wanted to involve, to the graphic definition of the game and of the cards, the drafting of the regulation. I enjoyed myself. I went back to being a graphic designer to design all the cards (but then luckily I have Elena Borneto – Art Director of Vanillaedizioni who put his hand to everything and made the game, how to say… cool! Even the crowdfunding campaign challenge was nice. It is still active and readers can contribute, so at Christmas they can play as a family ad ARSCODE:

In ARSCODE the great protagonists are the artists you involved. How important it is that the works of our contemporaries and not already historicized artists end up on your playing cards?
Thanks for the question. ARSCODE was born as a cultural project. I set myself the goal of being the spokesperson for the contemporary art world to the vast public that, in the last decade, he gradually stopped attending exhibitions in public and private spaces. Through the game of art I have the desire to make known almost a hundred contemporary works, to intrigue the players, to let them discover a good part of the functioning of the so-called art system. Not by chance, as soon as you open the game box, there is a book of 100 pages presenting the regulation, but above all i 42 artists involved (presented with bio and “statement”) and full reproduction of 84 works of art with their relative concept, a sort of presentation by the artist of the two proposed works. I won't deny that the great desire is to intrigue players and lead them to hang out with artists, contemporary exhibitions and galleries.

ARSCODE – the game of art, Opera Book

Playing is also a social experience of cohesion and inclusiveness. The fact that your game materialized during the pandemic also speaks volumes about missed opportunities in the art system…
We had a great chance. That of rethinking art from the point of view of culture. Art is culture. Unfortunately for over twenty years, especially in the last decade, we have only heard of the art market, and related business. We have read texts by “cryptic” critics, incapable of transmitting the cultural value or of bringing the high thinking of the artists closer to the public. Even the average level of the artistic proposal went to ramengo, often with works of low lyrical quality and poor ability to convey emotion, to hide behind a cheap conceptual (even if to be honest, the money asked for purchases has reached staggering figures!). It, in fact, the general public fled.
Only with culture can we bring a large audience back to attend and enjoy art and gradually become passionate and then, accordingly and according to one's possibilities, collector.
At the moment, Unfortunately, I believe that the situation we are in has been a missed opportunity. Without fairs, without the possibility of worldly inaugurations in the name of crowds and sparkling wine, we had the opportunity to relaunch the culture of art. I've been carrying on my thoughts for six months: openings lasting two or three days, from morning to evening, to allow limited entrances with reservation of the "time slot", guided tour of the exhibition accompanied by the artist, by the critic and the landlord.
Only then will we leave. Only from culture.

ARSCODE – the game of art, Action Cards

And you? You are definitely a gamer: from the tennis court to a deck of cards on the table. What's your favorite game ever?
Good question, not easy to answer. Il mio gioco preferito di sempre non può che essere la pallavolo. Ho passato 20 anni nei palazzetti, da buon giocatore (fino al campionato di serie B/2) e da allenatore.
Sono comunque un grande appassionato di sport, visto e giocato, e di giochi, sia da tavolo sia di quelli che, una volta, chiamavamo videogames.
Il tennis è il mio attuale amore che pratico da dieci anni esatti. Anche qui qualche soddisfazione me la sono tolta, giungendo proprio nel 2020 a essere un giocatore FIT di Terza categoria (come mi dicono, “tanta roba per un autodidatta”).
Sui giochi da tavolo e di carte, al primo posto metto certamente Risiko. Adoro Briscola e Cirulla, tra i giochi di carte, oltre al Poker. Ma dopo aver fatto molti beta-test, devo ammettere che ARSCODE scalerà presto le classifiche di gradimento 😉

ARSCODE – the game of art, Edizione Deluxe

ARSCODE – the game of art
Author: Diego Santamaria
Design: Diego Santamaria
Art Direction: Elena Borneto
Supervision: Livia Savorelli
At the age of seventy-four Claude Monet began his last and monumental project: Vanillaedizioni
Cost: 30 Euro

Book ARSCODE here: https://www.vanillaedizioni.com/crowdfunding/progetto/arscode-il-gioco-dellarte/

ARTISTS: Guido Airoldi, George Bormida, Matthias Brandes, Elisa Cella, Andrea Cereda, Andrea Chiesi, Antonella Cinelli, Davide Coltro, Vania Comoretti, Carolina Corno, Vanni Cuoghi, Carlo D’Orta, Max Farina, Marica Fasoli, Manuel Felisi, Jernej Forbici, Ilaria Gasparroni, Roberto Ghezzi, Fabio Giampietro, Claudia Giraudo, Federica Gonnelli, Fosco Grisendi, Carla Iacono, Julian T., Nataly Maier, Angelo Marinelli, Vincenzo Marseille, Mr. Savethewall, Barbara Nati, Nerosunero, Jasmine Pignatelli, Carlo Pizzichini, Melissa Provezza, Lorenzo Puglisi, Tobia Ravà, Lucrezia Roda, Elisa Rossi, Ersilia Sarrecchia, Tina Sgrò, Giorgio Tentolini, Samantha Torrisi, Marika Vicari.

Box contents:

The book which includes the regulation, the photographic reproduction of 84 works included in the game and the presentation of 42 artists who made them.

144 cards divided into:
84 Opera Book of 42 artists
48 Action Cards with events and characters
6 Magic Card + Promemoria Round
(game modes at every turn)
6 Score Cards + Secondary Goals

Extra Coins and Points

Info: www.arscode.it