The Game: The Game
The Game: The Game is a feminist video game made by Angela Washko. The project presents an exploration of consent and the politics, tactics and practices of the male pick-up artist and seduction community. Through the format of a dating simulator, players experience the practices of several prominent seduction coaches (aka pick-up artists). In the game these pick-up gurus attempt to seduce the player using their signature techniques taken directly from their instructional books and video materials. Pitting players up against six prominent seduction coaches who are vying for their attention at a bar, the game provides the opportunity for players to explore the complexity of the construction of social behaviors around dating as well as the experience of being a femme-presenting individual navigating this complicated and often dangerous terrain. It is accompanied by a musical score thoughtfully composed by Xiu Xiu.
The project is additionally featured as part of the Rhizome at the New Museum Net Art Anthology.
The Game: The Game had its world premiere in the form of a solo exhibition at the Museum of the Moving Image (NYC) which ran from January 10 – March 25, 2018.
PRESS RELEASE BY THE MUSEUM OF THE MOVING IMAGE:
“Composed entirely of scenarios, techniques, and language from texts and instructional videos created by these seduction coaches, The Game: The Game flips the script on the iterative processes of some of the world’s most prominent pick-up artists. If their techniques are systematically manipulative, The Game: The Game allows you to tactically explore, expose, and defuse them. But it also makes you complicit in their frequently dehumanizing behavior: refusing their advances results in a brief game. Only by actively consenting to participate in your suitor’s methods—which can range from cheesy to violent—will you be able to more fully understand them. The game is at turns funny and alarming, an experience heightened by a disorienting original score from Xiu Xiu. The Game: The Game is the product of several years of research by artist Angela Washko in the pick-up artist (PUA) community. Sorting through this often troubling material, she rejects the polarizing language that frequently surrounds PUAs, offering a nuanced view of power and desire in the complex world of contemporary sex and dating by giving players the opportunity to experience these systems firsthand.” – Jason Eppink, Curator of Digital Media
The work was supported in part by funding from the College of Fine Arts Faculty Fund for Research and Creativity at Carnegie Mellon University and a Frank-Ratchye Fund for Art at the Frontier Grant.