“Rock, Paper, Scissors” is ostensibly a perfectly fair game of chance. Each player picks from one of three choices with no knowledge of their opponent’s move, and the results of those two completely blind decisions dictate the winner. As anyone who’s actually played knows, however, that’s rarely the way it feels: you’re always trying to read the other player, using his or her past moves to predict what’s going to happen next.

Rock Paper Scissors, a piece by the German art collective weAREmedienkuenstler, pares the game down to its platonic ideal. Two computers, connected via ethernet, run random number generators to take their picks, with no mechanism to learn from their counterpart’s choices.

Creative Applications explains further.

The process of learning or tactics are excluded and yet the viewer is tempted to pick a side. In the classic battle of black versus white pawns one instinctively chosen by preferred colour or bets are placed on the outcome of the game. In this scenario, the computer will fight to the end in the virtual ring – the viewer picks the side.

Watch the piece in action above.