This exposition describes a game-artwork called Probationary, which was commissioned to present the 'lived experience' of men on probation. The game has been played by the men on probation ("on licence"), by criminologists at Liverpool John Moores University, by civil servants involved in probation services, and by a wide range of players in art and design contexts. In the exposition we show how the question of who can and should play the game leads into fascinating critical trajectories unique to interactive arts of this nature: namely, if someone can interact with an artwork as an employee, how can the relation of art and work be recalibrated? What follows is a description of the theoretical basis for games as forms of critical media artwork, and a tentative framing of the concept of "Art for Civil Servants" as a method for social artivism. The exposition frames this example of "Art for Civil Servants" within a lineage of new media art, and socially engaged art, while seeking to distinguish an original methodology and emerging mandate for this form of artistic research. The distinctive proposition of this exposition for the field of artistic research, is that art's utility as a research practice can be purposefully deployed outside of cultural fields. "Art for Civil Servants" is therefore a name for a speculative field of artistic research, which will draw on social science methodologies, and seek agency in the world in this way.
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