Part of Out of Office

Hardly Working

Total Refusal

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.

Hardly Working was produced as part of the European Media Art Platform (EMAP) residency at Werkleitz (Germany), co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.


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