The work > FREE! 41+ eGift Cards by the artist Leon Roth deals with the implementation of game design mechanisms in a decidedly non-game context, with the abstraction of money and the way gift cards form and transport values.
The first level of the work deals with the motivator reward system. Especially in games, crowdsourcing platforms and companies, the use of reward systems is one of the most effective motivators. They create a sense of competence, participation and autonomy. This method of game design in a non-game context is called gamification. This is an approach to designing platforms to motivate and subsequently reward desired behaviors of users in a game-like system. Paid crowdsourcing platforms, such as Amazon Mechanical Turk, employ this type of strategy for their monotonous microtasks, where humans train an AI for minimum wage. Many tasks involve labeling data as quickly as possible, especially image data that is fed into supervised machine learning models to help them better understand the world, such as transcribing audio files for Amazon Alexa.
The second level of > FREE! 41+ eGift Cards is dedicated to abstracting money. In the case of paper money or a gift card, where money exists in code form, it is a record that is transferred into which a value is transferred. There is always the question of how many tangibles can be exchanged for a certain amount. The phenomenon of financial abstraction here is that currencies and payment instruments are becoming less and less concrete and more and more abstract. Exemplary of this is the transition from cash to debit, credit, electronic transfers [such as PayPal], to cryptocurrencies, which further abstract and change the notion of money and currency. These factors are leading to an increase in consumerism.
The work > FREE! 41+ eGift Cards uses free coupon codes to address the following issues lifetime, internet, as well as the immediate reward system. The search for offers or even for things that are free of charge and earning money on the Internet is still appealing to users. It gives the feeling of understanding the system, of mastering it and of being able to use it optimally for oneself. On the other hand, there is a dependence on this system, which is in no way tangible or influenceable.
Starting with the abstract title and the deceptive design of the start menu, which implements a different understanding of value, the website architecture of > FREE! 41+ eGift Cards is based on the concepts already explained. The eGift Card codes play with money and abstraction: the fact that all 41+ gift cards have a common value of €500 makes participation in this treasure hunt a playful micro-task with potentially rewarding results. However, since there is no copy function for the codes, the extra step of taking a screenshot or writing them down turns the digital code into a physical object. Because only blank voucher codes, decoupled from the source, are visible, the search for the matching counterpart is time-consuming and requires a certain level of commitment. Users take an individual path through the Internet, which leaves traces thanks to HTML cookies and ultimately leads them to a reward or disappointment. What remains is invested lifetime and a monetary connection with the project.
Leon Roth, born in 1998 in Munich, Germany, studies Fine Arts at HFBK Hamburg in the Class of Prof. Simon Denny [time-based media]. He is currently writing his bachelor's thesis about the symbolism of tech-fetishized products in nature culture and is working on a blockchain inspired sculpture for the Denny class group exhibition at the Kunstverein Baden Baden.
Leon Roth, geboren 1998 in München, studiert bildende Kunst an der HFBK Hamburg in der Klasse von Prof. Simon Denny [zeitbasierte Medien]. Derzeit schreibt er seine Bachelorarbeit über die Symbolik von tech-fetischisierten Produkten in Natur Kultur und arbeitet an einer Blockchain inspirierten Skulptur für die Gruppenausstellung der Klasse Denny im Kunstverein Baden Baden.
Amazon Mechanical Turk is a crowdsourcing website where companies can remotely hire "crowdworkers" to perform discrete on-demand tasks that computers currently cannot. It operates under Amazon Web Services and is owned by Amazon