Let's Play: Red Redemption
by Total Refusal
Red Redemption is an online lecture-performance by artist collective Total Refusal, presenting a crash course on Marxism and class analysis through the mass medium of the video game Red Dead Redemption 2, a western-themed action-adventure game set within a large and vivid open world.
Located in the southern USA, the capital city of Red Dead Redemption 2, Saint Denis, is a pastiche of New Orleans at the turn of the 20th century. Against the backdrop of hundreds of non-player characters (NPCs) depicting various social classes — women and men toiling in factories, middle-class men visiting the theater, and the bourgeois leisure class reading in well-tended gardens — a pseudo-marxist city tour of Saint Denis, led by a robot and two German children, reveals the class relations that shape its cityscapes, mirroring physical capitalist realities.
Red Redemption analyses profit and surplus value, capital, and accumulation through the medium of a video game. It offers an insight into the social, economic, and political realities that exist within digital and physical worlds through the collective’s artistic intervention in the video game.
A conversation afterwards will be hosted by SAM curator Duncan Bass. This session is held in conjunction with the series Open Systems Broadcasts.
|Join us on Twitch here!
The pseudo-marxist media guerilla Total Refusal explores and practices strategies for artistic intervention in contemporary computer games. It works with tools of appropriation and rededication of game resources. Since its foundation in 2018 the collective has been awarded with numerous prizes like the Diagonale Film Award for the Best Short Doc, the Contemporary Visual Arts Award of Styria Province and Vimeo Staff Pick Award among others. Total Refusal has been screened at more than 130 film and video festivals like Berlinale (2020), Doc Fortnight at MOMA New York and IDFA Amsterdam (2018) and they been exhibited at various exhibition spaces like the Architecture Biennial Venice 2021, the HEK Basel (2020) and Ars Electronica Linz (2019).
Open Systems Broadcasts is a series of interactive live-streams exploring video games in and as contemporary art. Featuring artists, designers, and curators, Broadcasts are hosted via Twitch.tv/opensystems and adopt the platform’s presentation formats such as ‘Let’s Play’ and ‘Just Chatting.’ The live and interactive programmes aim to disrupt the formality of traditional artist talks, presentations, and Q&A sessions by incorporating real time comments and questions.