Join Football Practice at High Concept Labs this Sunday, February 13th from 11-2pm central for our team’s very first full game!

Game Day is the culmination of a year long Artist in Residency by Kristin McWharter with High Concept Labs. Presented both online and in person, the event features a screening of the collaborative artwork, Football Practice which on this occasion will mark the very first full game to be played by the software simulation. Over the course of 12 months, a series of virtual workshops were held in which participants collectively imagined new football players for a speculative future team. Discussing the complex ways in which this game models and reflects an American view of power struggle, masculinity, consensual violence, and group dynamics, the resulting speculative players designed in these workshops have offered an intimate view of the fantasies and social issues we role play as spectators of the sport. This crowdsourced imagining was then interpreted by a team of artists, designers, and developers to produce Football Practice, an experimental software and football simulator. Players trained throughout the year as new athletes were drafted onto the team with each workshop.

Over the course of 11 sessions this year, a total of 22 players were designed for the simulation. Each introduced complex power dynamics and strategic hurdles to how these speculative teams have learned to play the game. After learning the nuances of how they each navigate their roles, this full starting line up has prepared us for Game Day, an opportunity to witness the football simulator’s first full game to take place on the American Superbowl holiday.


HCL continues to be vigilant during the Covid-19 pandemic, and prioritizes the health and safety of its community. Please be prepared to show a physical or photo copy of your vaccination record of an FDA-or WHO-approved vaccine and booster, along with photo ID.

All guests to HCL at Mana Contemporary are required to wear masks at all times inside the facilities. Be advised that some artists may be unmasked during the performance, but are following the same protocols.

HCL welcomes you for our in-person gatherings; we remain in accordance with City of Chicago protocols including requiring proof of full vaccination against Covid-19 (at least 14 days after final dose) for all artists, visitors, and staff.

Special thanks to the development team:

Alm Chung, Anna Strain, Carlos Mercado, Iris Luo, Jackie Turpin, Sara Drake, Natalee Decker, and Adrian Pijoan

This project was made possible with the support of:

High Concept Labs, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, VGA Gallery, Culture Hub, Crosstown Arts, and the Chicago Artist Coalition Envision Grant