Game-based learning with 16th Century Italian Scandal

“The actual learning objective is to teach students about the economies of art,” Triseum CEO André Thomas told Hyperallergic. Thomas explained that the game responded to a need of the art history faculty at A&M, where they have two large survey courses that speedily cover 5,000 years of art history over two semesters. “There’s only so much you’re going to get out of that,” he said, and the game supports a deeper context, while connecting with the gaming interest of students.

This is pretty darn cool – Triseum (born from an experimental interactives lab with Texas A&M University) has developed a game where you yourself are a member of the infamous Medici Family during the Italian Renaissance. The purpose? To teach people that there is more to art than meets the eye… 

Often when people look at art they see the composition, the subject, the essence of what was created – but not necessarily why it was created, who for, or how it got to its home wherever that may be. These are the aspects that personally fascinate me however. Most works of art carry with it serious drama, which situates the piece in a real place and time in history that makes it less lofty, and more ‘real’. I’m pretty sure the Medici’s are the crowning glory of art-drama, so this developer made a game out of their influence for students to better understand the contextual history and various forces that play a part in the world of art. 

What truly brings art to life for me, is understanding the artwork as having a life of its own; circumstance to cultural, political, and economic pressures just the same as you and I. This is exactly what we try and convey in interpreting art at Antenna: the context behind the art. This kind of storytelling belongs in museums. In the case of the Medici’s, themselves great sponsors of art, it is derived from two elements I truly believe spark interest in all ages and interest levels – drama and scandal!

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