The Plug-In Studio

Kerry Richardson
Steven Ciampaglia
Lindsey French
Stephen Germana

The Plug-In Studio (Steve Ciampaglia + Kerry Richardson) is a socially engaged new media art collective that tactically deploys emerging technologies and community collaborations to promote social change. Ciampaglia + Richardson were named A Blade of Grass Fellows for Socially Engaged Art in 2015. The product of that fellowship, The Street Arcade, was a public art event that took place at Hyde Park Art Center in summer 2015. Social justice videogames created by The Plug-In Studio in collaboration with South Side teen artists were projected onto the side of the art center in an outdoor, retro video arcade. Family, friends and neighbors passing by were invited to play the games using custom-made arcade-style consoles with red-knob joysticks and buttons. As community members lined up on the sidewalk to play the games, the teen artists engaged them in discussions about the social issues explored in the videogames: white privilege, racial profiling, police brutality, and immigration.

In fall 2015, The Street Arcade was remounted in a condensed form in a juried group show at ARC Gallery called “I Can’t Breathe,” where it was named Best in Show. The Street Arcade was also remounted in summer 2016 at the MIT Media Lab’s Scratch@MIT Conference and at Bit Bash Chicago, Chicago’s Alternative Games Festival and PopUp Arcade. The Plug-In Studio was awarded a Learning is a Lifestyle Grant from Chicago Art Department in 2016 to fund REVELATIONS Augmented Graffiti, a project made in collaboration with the Graffiti Institute. REVELATIONS was exhibited at Chicago Art Department in spring 2016. The Plug-In Studio is currently working on The Wargames Tactical Media Collective, a collaboration with artists who are military veterans to produce a series of counter-recruitment videogames that challenge representations of the military in commercial videogames and explore veterans issues such as post traumatic stress disorder.

link to project site