Free Will Mode > Realistic Fictions

Realistic Fictions
Realistic Fictions

Realistic Fictions is a performance for video created by Angela Washko within "The Sims," the revolutionary pc video game released in 2000. The single-player game allows the user to create living situations not far from the player's projected domestic reality and reinforced social codes and moral values in children (home ownership and housing upkeep, maintaining a job, making money, upholding proper personal hygiene, getting enough rest, occasional socializing and exercise are all essential to sustaining life and success in the game).

Disaster strikes during Washko's in-game performance, leaving the economically thriving family she has created in peril. By relinquishing control of her avatars' actions and documenting their responses to grief, their artificial intelligence is forced to prioritize personal responsibilities in the wake of tragedy. How long do avatars mourn the dead when given "free will" and left unguided by their director? Just as we move on and become more resourceful in trying times, the artificial intelligence that programmers impart onto graphical representations of ourselves and our friends do the same.

The piece was exhibited within an installation at Flux Factory's exhibition "Untitled (As of Yet)," curated by Christina Vassallo and Sally Szwed.