Total Refusal (Robin Klengel, Leonhard Müllner, Michael Stumpf), Featherfall, 2019
4 channel video installation (loop) + audio, loudspeaker
Several scholars have compared the logic of video games to dreams (rather than movies or novels) to explain their peculiar nature: Alfie Bown comes to mind (see The PlayStation Dreamworld). Total Refusal explored this analogy by collecting experiences from gamers who share their oneiric visions with each other in online forums. A recurrent trope is the feeling of falling, which becomes the theme of Total Refusal's latest installation, Featherfall. As they write,
The video installation Featherfall is based on research in online forums in which video players * exchange their dream experiences. It becomes clear how close dream and game worlds can come to each other in the psyche of the users * and what feedback can develop between the two alternative realities. Featherfall ties in with the archetypal nightmare of "falling down", which often occurs during puberty. Falling without ever landing "exists in video games in the form of a recurring programming error - a glitch - through which the avatar falls beneath the surface into the empty, non-programmed space. The glitch as a digital nightmare.
Total Refusal is Robin Klengel, Leonhard Müllner, and Michael Stumpf. In their practice, they critically analyze and appropriate digital game spaces and put them to new use. Moving within games but ignoring the intended gameplay, Total Refusal allocates these resources to new activities and narratives, in order to create “public” spaces imbued with critical, even subversive potential.
Leonhard Müllner works as an artist in the public and digital space and is currently writing his doctoral thesis at the Linz Art University at the Institute for Art and Cultural Studies.
Robin Klengel works in Graz and Vienna as an interdisciplinary artist, illustrator, cultural anthropologist and vice president of the Forum Stadtpark.
Michael Stumpf studied philosophy at the University of Vienna. He works as an artist, designer and cultural theorist.
LINK: TOTAL REFUSAL (all images and video courtesy of Total Refusal)