Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, in collaboration with The Faculty of Social Sciences – Department for Media and Communication Studies, Zavod Bunker and Drugo more, presents:

Class Wargames - THE GAME OF WAR


Aksioma | Project Space
Komenskega 18, Ljubljana

22 April – 9 May 2015

OPENING: WED, 22 April 2015 at 9 pm

At the opening, the members of the Class Wargames group, Richard Barbrook and Fabian Tompsett, will play The Game of War with the visitors.


  • TUE, April 21, 2015 at 2 pm, Faculty of Social Sciences, Ljubljana, Lecture Hall 3, Imaginary Futures: From thinking Machines to the Global Village, lecture by Richard Barbrook
  • WED, 22 April 2015 at 7 pm, Old Power Station, Ljubljana: Class Wargames: Ludic Subversion Against Spectacular Capitalism, lecture by Richard Barbrook and screening of the movie The Game of War as an introduction to the exhibition
  • FRI, April 24, 2015 at 7 pm, Filodrammatica, Rijeka (CRO): The Californian Ideology 20.0, lectureby Richard Barbrook

After the May ‘68 Revolution, Guy Debord - the founder of the Situationist International and the author of The Society of the Spectacle (1967), a searing critique of the media-saturated society of consumer capitalism - devoted much of the rest of his life to inventing, refining and promoting what he came to regard as his most important project: The Game of War. The Game of War is a a Napoleonic-era military strategy boardgame where armies must maintain their communications structure to survive - and where victory is achieved by smashing your opponent's supply network rather than by taking their pieces. As such, it isn’t just a game: it is a guide to how people should live their lives within Fordist society. By playing, revolutionary activists could learn how to fight and win against the oppressors of spectacular society.
Intrigued by the importance Guy Debord placed on his invention of The Game of War, in 2007 a multinational group of artists, activists and academics formed Class Wargames to investigate the political and strategic lessons that could be learnt from playing his ludic experiment. Class Wargames is committed to exploring how Debord used the metaphor of the Napoleonic battlefield to propagate a Situationist analysis of modern society. Inspired by his example, its members have also hacked other military simulations: H.G. Wells’ Little Wars; Chris Peers’ Reds versus Reds and Richard Borg’s Commands & Colors. For the group’s members, playing wargames is not a diversion from politics: it is the training ground of tomorrow’s cybernetic communist insurgents.
Along the years, Class Wargames manifested itself through a series of public events - to all effects, performances - in which the group members play the Game of War in public, in such locations as the Hermitage Museum, the ICA Institute of Contemporary Arts or the Sculpture Hall of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

On show at Aksioma Project Space will be presented: a metal, sculptural version of the Game of War boardgame; the book Class Wargames: Ludic Subversion Against Spectacular Capitalism (2014); The Game of War film by Ilze Black, a 21st century treatise on revolutionary strategy in the cybernetic age that analyses the modern conditions of neo-liberal capitalism and the methods required to transcend it utilising both classical military theory and the political insights of Situationism; and seven prints from the Xenon-Eye series by visual artist Alex Veness. A Class Wargames co-founder, Alex Veness documented most of the group events since 2007 with an hybrid camera constructed by himself, combining a hacked digital scanner (to become a photographic plate) and a Victorian camera. Xenon-Eye’s lack of empathy, its predilection for representing humans as unnatural grotesques, can be understood as a parodic visual aesthetic for neoliberalism. As awareness grows of unchecked market’s indifference to human welfare, these images come to define the individual’s true identity within the presiding system’s logic: distorted, extruded and forced into unbearable forms. Far from showing people ‘as they really are’, Xenon-Eye shows them ‘as they really exist’: unwilling actors within the current socio-economic logic.

Production of the exhibition:

Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, 2015

Artistic Director: Janez Janša
Producer: Marcela Okretič
Executive Producer: Sonja Grdina
Public Relations: Hana Ostan Ožbolt
Technician: Valter Udovičić
Documentation: Jernej Čuček Gerbec

Partners: Zavod Bunker, Center for Social Communication Research of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana and Drugo More

The Game of War is realized in the framework of Masters & Servers, a joint project by Aksioma (SI), Drugo more (HR), AND (UK), Link Art Center (IT) and d-i-n-a / The Influencers (ES).

Supported by: the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Municipality of Ljubljana.

Aksioma | Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana


Accompanying program
  Richard Barbrook
Imaginary Futures: from thinking machines to the global village


The Faculty of Social Sciences
Lecture hall 3

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 at 2pm

Organized by the Faculty of Social Sciences, Ljubljana - Department of Media and Communication Studies.
Richard Barbrook will be talking about the material history of our virtual future. In his lecture, he traces the Cold War origins of the contemporary fascination with the transformative power of digital technologies - and how the prophecies of Net utopianism have dominated the political understanding of both the Left and the Right over the last five decades. It is by understanding the visceral past of this imaginary future that we will be able to invent our own emancipatory visions of the shape of things to come.


  Class Wargames
The Game of War


The Old Power Station / Elektro Ljubljana

Wednesday, April 22, 2015 at 7 pm

In the frame of the international conference Ready to Change: Rethinking the Relationship between Artists and Communities organized by Zavod Bunker

The Game of War


Inspired by Alice Becker-Ho and Guy Debord’s The Game of War, this movie by Ilze Black (Class Wargames) analyses the modern conditions of neo-liberal capitalism and the methods required to transcend it. Utilising both classical military theory and the political insights of Situationism, this film provides an insurrectionary manual for those struggling to build a truly human civilisation.

Class Wargames: ludic subversion against spectacular capitalism

BOOK PRESENTATION by Richard Barbrook

Why should radicals be interested in playing wargames? Surely the Left can have no interest in such militarist fantasies? Yet, Guy Debord – the leader of the Situationist International – placed such importance on his invention of The Game of War that he described it as the most significant of his accomplishments.



Richard Barbrook
The Californian Ideology 20.0


Gallery Filodrammatica, Rijeka, Croatia
Friday, April 24, 2015 at 6 pm

Organized by Drugo more in the frame of the festival “Mine, Yours, Ours” organized by Drugo More.
In 1995, Richard Barbrook was co-author with Andy Cameron of a pioneering critique of Internet neo-liberalism: 'The Californian Ideology'. Two decades later, Richard will revisit the key arguments of this article and explain how they are even more relevant in today's world of social media, ubiquitous surveillance and dotcom monopolists.


Class Wargames
Class Wargames is an avant-garde movement of artists, activists, and theoreticians engaged in the production of visual artworks of ludic subversion in the bureaucratic society of controlled consumption. The members of Class Wargames are Dr. Richard Barbrook, author and senior lecturer in the Department of Politics & IR at the University of Westminster; Rod Dickinson, visual artist and lecturer at University of the West of England; Alex Veness, visual artist; Ilze Black, artist and producer; Fabian Tompsett, initiator of London Psychogeographical Association and author; Mark Copplestone, author and designer; Lucy Blake, software developer; Stefan Lutschinger, lecturer, artist and researcher; and Elena Vorontsova, World Radio Network and journalist.