Video Game Cohibbitant

PLACE

Shenzhen, China

TIME

2018-2019

KEYWORDS

game, art, exhibition

The old story needs to be retold now. When we are saying “living with video games” or “living in video games”, we are not merely describing a so-called Otaku who stay-up several nights to play well in League of Legends, nor are we thrilled that our avatar in Second Life is going to wed someone in the game. The year is 2018, when the video game industry is grad- ually taking over the entertainment industry, and becoming one of the core economic sectors in the coming future.

In a future where arti cial intelligence progressively invades in every corner of the society and foreseeably creates vast unemployment, the pessimists such as Israeli historian Yuval Noah Harari would claim that the useless class that are re- placed by the machines will inevitably live an unfilling life in video games, while the optimists like American economist Edward Castronova predicts that playing video game per se, would be the solution for low-skill worker in 20 years

Meanwhile, our daily life is also infused with a video game mentality. Grand Group, one of the earliest game companies in mainland China, has for years opted for an RPG-like system to evaluate employ- ees’ performance: kill the bugs, get expe- rience points, and then level up. Recently, a private education institute carried out a nation-wide campaign in various ele- mentary schools all over China, pushing school kid to vow ‘in the name of my family” that they’d no long stay addicted to the spiritual opium that is video game, because they have a bigger and more im- portant game to play in real life: the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. In the 2nd episode of the British dark tv series Black Mirror, a picture is vividly depicted to show us how we, in the near future, will live and then die — we have to ride a bike in the way we play tennis on Wii, so that we can get enough points to buy lebens- mitten.

Video Game: Cohabitant captures three cross sections of this mode of living/sur- viving:

                                                           

the psyche the physic the social

                                                           

We invite intermedia artists, game design- ers, scholars and other parties who also live with and in video games, to experi- ment, imagine and investigate the life of game and the game of life.

THE PSYCHE

                                                           

Video games are always about stimuli

and response where the human psyche

is constantly provoked. Manipulation and “counter strike”, exploitation and thera- peutic discovery, are both possible choic- es for the gamers.

                                                           

This session features on game and art- works on schizophrenia, autism, depres- sion, anxiety disorder, and so on. It looks at how video games dig into the omnipres- ent traumatic experiences in our society.

                                                           

THE PHYSIC

                                                           

This session reviews the oldest and the most enduring game genre — war game. The physic here is both the killer and the killed, the bearer of the su ering and its inventor.

                                                           

A special focus is given to FPS and al- ternative war games. We invite game designers and artists who work on new strategies in depicting war and its conse- quences.

                                                           

THE SOCIAL

                                                           

The last session tries to manifest such a kaleidoscope: today, video game already established themselves to be a central hub of human connections. For every video game, there is an extending network of human agency and machine agency. This co-living community however, is not a naturally formed utopia, it also is con- structed within a complex social-econom- ical world that we inhabit.