Rock Paper Scissors Bomb

Rock Paper Scissors Bomb is an iconic representation and modification of the hand game Rock Paper Scissors, (also known as rochambeau or jan-ken-pon) in the tradition of the Dadaist readymades. I have changed the code of the game from hand signals to the actual objects, and changed the rules by including a bomb, specifically an inert hand grenade. Although it is nothing new to add a fourth item to the game–for example, one set of rules includes dynamite which can beat rock and paper but is defeated by scissors because they are able cut the dynamite’s fuse–the bomb trumps everything. I only include one of each item, shifting the game of chance to a game of speed. The game becomes a race for players to reach the strongest item first. Although this piece is designed to be static, it has an implied interactivity allowing viewers to contemplate how they might play.

No one can play this game, but one can imagine racing for the bomb. In this modification the bomb unseats the balance of power and puts the viewer in a cold war mentality: “if I reach the bomb first I know I will win.” This implicates the viewer and the desire for power, and raises the question of motive: Is it a fear of losing or a need to win that evokes a race for the bomb?


  • Professors Exposed, Media Arts Gallery. Pittsburgh, PA
  • JP Open Studios, Urbano Project Gallery. Boston, MA 7//09
  • Selected Graduate Student Works, Sol Koffler Gallery. Providence, RI 6/08
Rock Paper Scissors Bomb
RPSB - photo by Joel Veak