Italian artist Luca Miranda's latest performance within the spaces of Dark Souls II is titled Host Souls. Documenting on a daily basis the number of total deaths by the players, the game, and, therefore, the system as a whole, Host Souls consists of a visual documentation comprising one hundred screenshots showing the total number of deaths at the time of capture of each specific screengrab. As I perused Miranda's screenshots, I was inevitably reminded of the daily toll of the Covid 19 pandemic displayed with handy infographics from the likes of The Guardian, The New York Times, and the Johns Hopkins Covid 19 Map. The project is intended as a virtual mausoleum, as a commentary of digital death, and on the quantification of "passing", not to mention, about the live recording of erasure. As Miranda writes:
The structure works as a calculation tool: at each new death – online – of a player (therefore of an avatar), the count is increased by one unit. Each death is added up. This tool grafted in the game design allows us to meditate (as well as calculate) on our relationship with our virtual counterparts, on the concept of epistemological proxy attributed to a simulacrum, and on our evolutionary relationship with these “life forms” more and more organically linked to us.
Luca Miranda’s practice focuses on the relationship between reality and simulation. He is especially interested in the notion of the avatar as an aesthetic entity and its representational features. In his work, Miranda critically scrutinizes game mechanics and notions such as immersion, identification, and interpassivity. His work deals with the image of the avatar in contemporary culture. Miranda received a Master of Arts in TV, Cinema and New Media at IULM University, Milan, and previously a B.A. in Media and Art from the University of Bologna.
LINK: Luca Miranda