2021, Video, 20 minutes 30 seconds
Hardly Working spotlights Non-Playable Characters (NPCs), the largely ignored background figures in video games. With ethnographic precision, the film observes a laundry worker, a stable hand, a street sweeper and a handyperson as they go about their ‘work’. Although they appear to be toiling constantly and tirelessly, their work is in fact purely performative: it is entirely ineffective and non-productive. They do not develop in any way – in contrast to the main characters in video games who actively ‘evolve’. Occasionally, they escape their pre-programmed loops to stare into space, enjoy a night-long cigarette or stand in the rain. By stealing time from their capitalist oppressor they turn idleness into a form of rebellion.
This work was realised within the framework of a European Media Art Platform residency program at Werkleitz (Germany) with support from the Creative Europe Culture Programme of the European Union.
Total Refusal― Artist
The pseudo-marxist media guerilla Total Refusal explores and practices strategies for artistic intervention in contemporary computer games. It works with tools of appropriation and rededication of game resources. Since its foundation in 2018 the collective has been awarded with numerous prizes like the Diagonale Film Award for the Best Short Doc, the Contemporary Visual Arts Award of Styria Province and Vimeo Staff Pick Award among others. Total Refusal has been screened at more than 130 film and video festivals like Berlinale (2020), Doc Fortnight at MOMA New York and IDFA Amsterdam (2018) and they been exhibited at various exhibition spaces like the Architecture Biennial Venice 2021, the HEK Basel (2020) and the Ars Electronica Linz (2019).