In Spring 2006, architecture students developed The Game of Strife, an Agit-Prop project that drew attention to issues prevalent in Cincinnati, such as the lack of affordable housing, minimum wage, education and school closings, job opportunity, health insurance, and corporate social responsibility.
The students want to thank artist and professor of Art Kurt Gohde of Transylvania University in Lexington, Ky for his participation and guidance in this project.
Derived through meetings with community activists, leaders, and residents of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood and greater Cincinnati, the studio developed its project based off the popular board game known as The Game of Life. In our Game of Strife players learn about how lives are lived along four different paths- homelessness, Over-the-Rhine residents, middle class suburbanites, and corporate members. Game players experience the struggles and privileges of different life paths while becoming more aware of the issue-related facts that currently affect Cincinnati.
The Game of Strife was installed at three locations: at Piatt Park in downtown Cincinnati, and the campuses of the University of Cincinnati and Miami University.
The impact upon both the community and the students was profound. As one student Nicole Brown put it: “The Agit-Prop studio interpreted an entirely new form of dialogue concerning social responsibility and design. Through engagement in the Over-the-Rhine community, our studio developed one of the key proponents in the recognition and understanding of others- empathy. Often characterized by the ability to “put oneself in his or her shoes,” empathy is an emotional state in experiencing a situation in at least two ways. It compromises one’s own thoughts by encountering others in order to create an effective and active response. It also means to share; situations are no longer regarded as “them” or “those,” but as “we” or “us.” Empathy has required our studio to get our hands dirty and dig deep into the many issues concerning fear, privilege, class, and race. It is through empathy that our studio has developed various processes and achieved a final design that has raised awareness of the many current inequalities and injustices in not only greater Cincinnati, but all over the world.”