Total Refusal is an open artists’ collective which criticizes and artistically appropriates contemporary video games. However, as most mainstream game narratives employ the same infinite loops of reactionary tropes, the genre largely fails to challenge the values of their players and instead affirms hegemonial moral concepts. Acknowledging that this media is currently not realizing its cultural potential, we aim to appropriate digital game spaces and put them to new use. Moving within games but casting aside the intended gameplay, we rededicate these resources to new activities and narratives, looking to create “public” spaces with a critical potential.
Red Redemption – A Brute Marxist Class Analysis
Live-Gametour-Performance by and with Total Refusal (AT)
The city of Saint Denis is located in the southern USA and is a pastiche of New Orleans at the turn of the 20th century. It is the capital city in the video game Red Dead Redemption 2. Women and men toil in factories, sit in the mud in front of their shacks at night, while the bourgeois leisure class reads newspapers or poetry in well-tended gardens on the other side of the map. In between, the middle class strolls along the boulevard and visits the theatre. Hundreds of NPCs (Non-Playable Characters), the extras of this setting, meticulously stage the same class relations that shape the cityscapes of digital and physical capitalist realities alike. Within a pseudo-Marxist city tour, Total Refusal analyses profit and surplus value, capital and accumulation in the mass medium of a video game.