An open games arcade set up in a shop over 4 months in Nelson, Lancashire. Hosted events reflected on the political circumstances of the time during the European Referendum through games. Commissioned by In-Situ in 2016.
In 2016 Amy created ‘Arcade of Nelson’, a temporary public installation of arcade games in collaboration with the local community. Before home-based console games, the local arcade was a space of risk, danger, bright lights and naughty behavior. These days, arcades are more associated with holidays and seaside resorts – places and times where real life is somehow suspended. The arcade is a potent space, conjuring a nostalgic kind of futurism, playing with the memories of how you dreamed life could be, and playing with games of chance.
Through a series of public workshops, Amy created a new set of games, which directly reference the histories and ideas of local residents. Together, the games were a part-functioning, sculptural installation, with real one-arm bandits encased in makeshift materials like cardboard and wood. These temporary casings drew attention to the symbolic space that arcade games occupy between real life and the audience’s imagination. In this way, the arcade occupies a space full of potential.
As well as the workshops, Amy programmed a series of public events which developed the arcade not only as a symbolic space for an imagined community, but also as a symbolic community in its own right. In June 2016, Arcade of Nelson presented an ‘In and Out Party’, themed around the upcoming referendum on membership of the European Union. Through conversations, cups of tea and games, the event facilitated real debate about this notoriously divisive issue, among a divided public.