No Play Today

2005

Media : Performance

Artist Statement :

It is project of performance art, which was run on the platform of multiplayer online game, “Anarchy Online”, in October 2005. The name of performer is “Alenila” – my avatar. The online game world is a public space. This is a public performance.

Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) is an environment in which players are used to fight, aim at equipping the most powerful weapons and armors, and become as stronger and richer as possible. Players somehow earn their social states during the time. In October 2005, Alenila on and on kept dancing in the Temple of the Three Winds dungeon in Anarchy Online. There is the most crowded battlefield where players are fighting fiercely. Dancing is definitely not supposed to be a normal behavior there. During the time of performance, I always received other players' queries. For example, someone asked me, “ehm, alenila what are you doing in totw? except for dancing i mean.”I also encountered another interesting response. A player came to dance with me.

This performance questioned the essence of “play” in the modern game. I wonder “play” might have the power to bring people to extraordinary. However, “play” in MMORPG at most time duplicates the ordinary social conventions and requests players to fit in. It just reinforces the framing of ordinary life. “Play” might lost its mysterious and precious characters nowadays.