Architecture with Games in the Title

2019 (HD video, 6:00 min; unity game engine)

In Architecture with Games in the Title, Mario Mu explores the convergence of spatial memory and the architecture within games, while setting in motion an intimate story about the contemporary labour conditions. 

With every economic crisis, a new wave of unemployed workers migrate to online virtual worlds. In these circumstances workers bear resemblance to video game players, having to navigate a rigorously controlled setting where achievements are possible by experiencing constant failure. In video games, the Architecture of Failure has always had a crucial element. Taking place in a carefully constructed environment, the player’s experience is guided through a perpetuating process of trial and error. 

The main scene occurs in an office with desks, computers, chairs and all the other usual elements of the modern working environment. It’s a space without shadows — at once bright, warm, and ghostly. Walls appear and disappear according to where the characters roam. A dialogue between them ensues, but the camera view doesn’t grant us access to see them. As the two people engage in a conversation about architecture, memory, bots, ghosts and archives, the room around them is slowly going up in flames. 

The project is a result of ongoing research into the gamification of labour (Whales, 2017.), invisible work of communal characters (Walkthrough, 2018.) and doxing practices (Confessional Stage Diving, 2019.). While his previous works have included elements of improvisational theater and performance, this new piece features a minimalist video game environment constructed with the unity engine and recorded in-game.