The Formal is Political

Trialogue pits the Developer, Player and Critic in a playful tug-of-war highlighting videogame industry’s toxic consumerism and its complicity with the military- entertainment complex that perpetuates through conventions of the first-person shooter genre.

Arranged as an interactive installation, participants can freely move around embodying the Developer who modifies a critical first-person shooter videogame in real-time while it’s being interacted by a Player. Their combined performance is evaluated by the rest of the audience who play Critics whose ratings alters the Developer’s range of powers, and thus the game and the nature of the installation.
Amid this the Player embodies and performs the procedures through which military- entertainment complex perpetuates through videogame conventions.

By interconnecting different media built around games, Trialogue seeks to offer a multiplicity of perspectives on how deeply entrenched our understandings of a “game” is and how our “ideal experience” gets moulded by the complicated process of marketing and reviewing a game.

Through the act of participation in a meta-simulation, Trialogue presents a critique of the environment and contexts within which videogames are made and exists in. Its critiques focus on the consumerist necessity of the Player and the methods employed by both the Developer and Critic which are deployed to serve those ends.

Trialogue layers its consumerist critique with a deconstruction of the first-person shooter genre and how its conventions reflect the neoimperialist ideologies of the American military interventionism in post-World War II era. It ties both these layered critiques – of consumerism and of problematic FPS conventions with its larger statement on the military-entertainment complex.

Trialogue is post-colonial criticism come to life, taking shots at the embedded conventions of a genre that glorifies war and the cultural impact that such ideas have.

Its conceptual ideas were partly a continuation of an academic paper (external link: Journal of Games Criticism) I wrote on post-colonial critique of first-person shooter conventions.

Trialogue is my MFA Thesis at NYU Tisch School of Arts.

Exhibited At:
People Powered: NY Internet Week @BHQFU, Brooklyn, NY (May 16-23)
NYU Game Center, Brooklyn, NY (May 19, 2016)
Babycastles, New York, NY (June 2, 2016)
A MAZE 2016, Berlin, Germany (April 20-24, 2016)
Demo Reel


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  • Interactive installation exploring the processes embodied by the three roles involved within ;the “textual” boundaries of a game
  • Observing the effects of an experience of a game when modified in real-life
  • Physical separation of the performed roles in the installation space allows only for indirect, non-verbal communication
  • Explores how design of tools and game engine frame the creation processes
  • A “fake economy” which rewards the Developer with more power if they satisfy Good Game Design Principles and get positive evaluation from the audience members
  • Critique of game industry and culture’s influence on defining the processes

Trialogue Interaction Schematics