Tarot of Chance

The Tarot of Chance is a work performed for one person at a time. Aided by cards developed by The Big Conversation Space (Niki Korth, San Francisco, and Clémence de Montgolfier, Paris) in collaboration with John Mowitt (Leeds, United Kingdom), The Tarot of Chance is based on the structure and methodology of the Tarot de Marseilles (XVth century), or classical divination tarot.

The Tarot of Chance, however, neither claims nor asserts any connection to the spiritual realm, save that which comes with every human encounter, and aims to serve as a mediator between one’s desires and constraints. The artist serves as a reader and uses chance to propose directions to the participant, in the way one might flip a coin in order to help a decision-making process. It creates a moment of contact and negotiation between signification and interpretation, belief and disbelief, trust and deceit.

The cards for The Tarot of Chance are available for purchase (contact us directly if interested).

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Reading sessions of the Tarot of Chance with The Big Conversation Space are available in person in the San Francisco Bay Area or the Paris Metropolitan Area, and virtually anywhere with an Internet or phone connection.

Tarot of Chance reading sessions have thus far taken place at the following events/locations:

Parking Lot Art Fair | Fort Mason Center (Parking Lot) | San Francisco, USA

RADIATIONS 24 | Laptop Radio | Geneva, Switzerland

Launch of Volume Magazine, Winter 2014 | Chez Treize | Paris, France

Perform Chinatown Afterparty | Human Resources | Los Angeles, USA

Shared Feedback: Design + Technology Salon | San Francisco Art Institute | San Francisco, USA

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RADIATIONS 24, Laptopradio

Tarot reading on the radio, RADIATIONS 24, radio program by Emma Souarce and Alexandra Roger, LAPTOPRADIO, Geneva, Switzerland, 2014

Special Radio Program by A. Roger and E. Souarce, a two-day non-stop live broadcast with guest artists, sound artists, music and various events. Laptop Radio is an independent radio project based in Geneva that you can find more about here : laptop radio.

At this occasion, TBCS proposed to read tarot on the radio for three persons for approximately one hour total. The guests were asked to previously think about a question to ask to the tarot (in their minds).

You can download the podcast of Tarot Reading on the radio here (coming soon).


The Tarot of Chance : une lecture en différé

The Tarot of Chance : une lecture en différé

Lancement de la revue VOLUME numéro spécial, Hiver 2014 / Launch of Volume magazine, Winter 2014

chez Treize, Paris | 17 January 2014

In the performance The Tarot of Chance : une lecture en différé, the tarot is read to a visitor by one performer in English in San Francisco via Skype and another performer translating to the visitor in French in the gallery space in Paris. A delay is created, both in time and in language, and the mediation of the discourse plays with its own limits. Through this display of tarot, we question the process of making choices and how interactions with others and with media can constitute them.






Shared Feedback : Design + Technology Salon

The first launch of  The Tarot of (Technological) Chance took place at the San Francisco Art Institute during the Shared Feedback Design + Technology Salon in April 2013.

On this occasion, TBCS collaborated with scholar John Mowitt from the University of Leeds to develop the Tarot of Chance card deck and experimental tarot reading structure, depicted in the graphic below:


This first manifestation of the Tarot of Chance initially harbored more satire than what has come to be the standard earnestness of most readings. Prior to the salon, TBCS described their plans as follows:

Due to the powerful and untested nature of the psychic rays that will be exchanged between the cards and the players, the readings will be mediated through what I’m calling an analog Skype set-up involving TV monitors, rotary phones, and closed circuit cameras. For everyone’s safety, reader and seeker will not have visual or acoustic contact outside of system which also requires a distance of at least 100 feet during time of reading.

The tarot itself is a spin on conventional tarot, with a focus on technology and its role in decision making and psychical well-being. Note that “technology” is a concept we approach very broadly with special emphasis on the technology of language, writing systems, the alphabet, etc.

As the salon unfolded, however, it became clear that what the audience sought were face-to-face conversations, where the symbology of the cards and ritual of calling The Great Beyond provided sufficient abstraction to protect all involved from the untested psychic rays. The closed circuit video system, rather then serving as the mechanism through which the reading takes place, became a tool of extension for the reading – broadcasting the image to another room while keeping the substance, the speech of the conversation, in the private space shared between seeker and reader.

Photos by Alyn Divine