asses.masses [ongoing]

created by Patrick Blenkarn and Milton Lim

asses.masses is a solo performance for multiple players about sharing the load of revolution; it is also a videogame arcade installation.

Equus asinus—the ass, the donkey—has played a central role in religion, colonialism, warfare, and the economics of almost every major civilization since its domestication over 5000 years ago. It has symbolized everything from power, strength, and stupidity, to wisdom, piousness, and fertility. In recent years, however, the utility of the ass has been made superfluous in post-Industrial societies and the animal is being ‘transitioned’ to produce other forms of value. In light of these transitions, the contemporary status of the ass presents a particularly potent context for understanding the state of labour in our current era, as well as a reminder of the deeply anthropocentric features of philosophies of labour and emancipation.

Each night audience members step forward one at a time from the herd to seize the means of production (i.e. a video game controller) and to lead us through a world of asses (donkeys) in pursuit of a just life. Following the narratives of multiple asses as they contemplate labour politics and protest against their Human oppressors, this video game performance is a journey through the obsolescence of the manual labourer, political idealism, digital labour, and virtual revolution.

Previous workshops and performances:

  • Creation Residency, Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, Burnaby BC (December 1-10, 2018)

  • Risk/Reward Festival for New Performance, Portland OR (June 28-30, 2019)

  • soft/WALL/studs Playtest, Singapore (July 31, 2019)

Upcoming performances:

  • Digital Summit, Banff Centre for the Arts, Banff AB (November 2019) *Pending

  • Kelowna Art Centre, Kelowna BC (February 2020)

  • Gallery Arcade version at La Bande Video, Québec QC (TBA, 2021)