Death Game

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In collaboration with Demodictus artist group.

Death Game is a video game without the game. The playing field is a large, empty desert, sparsely populated with rocks and the occasional weed. Moving around the game space, the player (a nondescript dot) finds no clear object of the game – there are no points to collect, no enemies to battle and nothing to search for. However, hidden in a number of unmarked spaces are trigger points that, as the player moves across them, result in a quick and brutal death – ’GAME OVER’. Throughout the desert playing field, over 100 distinct deaths await, each described in graphic detail, in stark contrast to the minimal pixelated desert. Faced with death at the teeth of a shark; by a bullet to the head; by pneumonia, etc, the player is then given the opportunity to restart the game by moving the character (transformed from a speedy grey dot into a slow-moving white skull) towards the ’restart’ baby, curled up and smiling in the foetal position. The baby returns the player to the desert where they are free to roam until death again stops them in one of its many forms.

Through contrasting visual approaches, Death Game reflects the parallel natures of death – it is a universal, abstract phenomenon, uniting the human race by its inevitability; and yet to witness the specific details of a death accentuates that body’s individuality, it reminds us of the solitary nature of the event, and carries the sense that we are viewing a profoundly personal image. The universality of death and its impersonal actions is a logical concept which our gut disbelieves when confronted unexpectedly. Death provides the maximal oscillation between the distant and the close – the objective and the subjective.

“Demodictus is a group of artists who are building an ever growing collection of intricate installation toys, presented as an opportunity for people to use the tools of play to communicate together over serious topics. The strain on communication that can be brought about by subjects such as death, war, religion and societal differences can make these conversations feel like difficult work. Both public and intimate at the same time, the subject of death amongst close ones is avoided through fear of its intimacy and through an enduring ancient fear of tempting the demons of superstition. Each individual work in the exhibition can separate a group of visitors into single active player and surrounding spectators as they host only one game player at a time. However, the works present themselves publicly to the anonymous, plural visitor, just as death is the solitary undertaking of an individual and at the same time universal.” – Demodictus, 2013

Demodictus is:

Mari Prekup, Ott Pilipenko, Hannah Harkes, Taavi Tulev, Priidik Hallas, James Connor, Märt Vaidla.


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