Identity, values and competition explored among strangers at a dining table near you

Why go to an art exhibit when you can be in one?

Last month, KCRW joined 14 strangers around a dining room table in Santa Barbara for a social experiment that aimed to raise big ideas in an intimate setting.

At first, it was awkward. Few knew each other, and no one knew what they’d be asked to do throughout the 2-hour experience. But slowly, as the game began, questions and tasks arose that forced the players to open up, interact with and learn about one another.

It was fun, but also got everyone thinking. “How do I feel about myself compared to these people, and how do they feel about me? Do I care how they feel about me?” said participant, Sarah Klooster.

The contemporary art piece focuses on issues like cultural identity, values and competition through what feels like a game at a dinner party.

The game is called Home Visit USA. It’s a participatory performance piece by German-Swiss artist collective Rimini Protokoll, premiered in the U.S. this year through the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara.

KCRW participated in one of the performances — arm wrestling, teamwork and all.

To check out our other museum tours, click here.