LARP game has players cope with the expectations placed on different genders

It’s not hard to understand the appeal of LARPing (live-action role playing). A player can both cosplay and let go of their inhibitions in a safe space by acting out a character-driven narrative. Though I’ve never LARPed before, actress Felicia Day convinced me of its potential for sheer fun in an episode of Supernatural where her character got to be the Queen of a popular LARP and was practically worshiped by the other players. Definitely appealing. But perhaps the best aspect of LARPing is that it is a medium entirely shaped by its players backgrounds and intents, and can be…

Virtual Drag

Virtual Drag, or how to queer virtual reality

“We’re born naked, and the rest is drag.” – Ru Paul, Lettin’ It All Hang Out, 1995 /// Australian digital media artist Alison Bennett says that Virtual Drag came to her “like a bright flash.” It may not seem obvious at first, the connection between drag performance and virtual reality, but once the two concepts merge in your head your thoughts can start to accelerate down a rabbit hole of vast questions and possibilities. Before getting to the larger implications you must first know what Virtual Drag is all about. It’s an exhibition that will see 3D scans of drag queens…


Watch this guy attempt to spend 48 hours in virtual reality without sleeping

How long have you spent inside virtual reality in total—an hour? Two hours? 24 hours? It’s probably only a small number of hours as it takes quite the toll on your eyes and brain. And that’s if you don’t get the infamous nausea it brings on for a lot of people. But heck, try telling that to Thorsten Wiedemann, who is currently at the beginning of a performance called DISCONNECTED that will see him spending a total of 48 consective hours inside virtual reality. As the description says: “No human being has ever spent such a long time in computer generated Virtual…


When everyday life is a performance

This Is My Costume explores life with a non-binary gender identity and its parallels with performative attire. It’s a short point-and-click adventure that was made by game design team Pride Interactive for a recent Ludum Dare, in which the theme was “You Are The Monster.” It begins with the protagonist, Finch, getting dressed—first by putting on a binder, then a t-shirt that reads “this is my costume,” and some cat ears. Later, during a short walk around a party, the character is shown relating more to an abandoned balloon in the corner than the other party-goers, longing to be elsewhere. Once they…


An interactive theatre show brings out the capitalist monsters in most of us

Very few people get out of bed and plan to run a horrible sweatshop, but here they are, a collection of young, presumably liberal adults, doing just that. They are participants in Zoe Svendsen’s interactive play, World Factory, at London’s Young Vic Theatre. Audience members form teams. They sit in clusters, figuring out how to deal with problems at their Chinese clothing factory. These problems touch on a variety of issues—worker conditions, dealings with clients and suppliers—but, insofar as we’re talking about capitalism here, everything comes down to the bottom line.  “Because the choices are binary they are rarely palatable,”…


A new virtual reality game buries you alive in an actual coffin

Taphophobia, the fear of being buried alive, is described as being “irrational.” It’s not. An irrational fear is being scared of being shot into orbit while sleeping, or crocodiles crawling down your chimney—the likelihood of either happening is super slim. But you could be buried alive tonight or tomorrow, and with terrifying ease. A spiked drink, a couple of hours, and a spade is all that’s needed. how about you voluntarily get buried alive?  Also, those who would deem it an “irrational” fear should be careful where they’re poking that word. Of the many people inflicted with taphophobia over the…


Tattoos, abstracted into data and blasted onto a canvas

In 1954, a small group of Japanese artists called the Gutai (Embodiment) group became interested in revealing the inner qualities of the materials they used in their art through performance. In one piece, Akira Kanayama used a remote controlled car to spread paint on a canvas. In another, Kazuo Shiraga painted by sliding across a canvas on his bare feet. The paintings they made are presented as finished works, but the performances that led to them are sometimes photographed, sometimes not—in these early stages of performance art, it was unclear whether the work was the painting itself, or the performance…