Bookchin's work addresses computer games, corporate sponsors, virtual pets and the Internet. She will present The Intruder, a hybrid art project that merges computer games and literature in a game translation of a short story by Jorge Luis Borges. She will discuss a work currently in development, a two-part project that addresses the politically volatile subjects of genetics and biotechnology. This work in not a quiet artistic contemplation of ethical issues in genetic research while for-profit scientists and their corporate backers get on with their business.
BioTaylorism utilizes the language of corporate promotional material to deliver a deadpan and detailed narrative heralding the applications of Frederick Taylor's principles of modern industrial organization to bioengineering. The second part of the project is an on-line virtual pet game in which the pet is a human worker and the player is a manager. The game takes place in a virtual workplace, where you must earn points to feed, replenish and manipulate your pet. As in anyvirtual pet environment, you will need to visit and supervise your pet. Overwork can cause production levels to drop and will require rejuvenation or modification, costing you valuable points. Poor management can lead to a decline in performance and an abuse of rejuvenators which can lead to inefficiency, job demotion, job or insurance loss, hunger, and an untimely death. If you don't have enough points - for example in the case of a pet that has not been given a job or health insurance as a result of the genetic screening test - or if you simply want to earn more points, you can leave the workplace and temporarily enter another game environment. There, you can play a "knowledge game" or can venture into the thrills and challenges of real life actions and participate in a variety of on or off line games, thus earning mega-points for your pet.
Natalie Bookchin is an artist who lives in Los Angeles and is
a member of the faculty at California Institute of the Arts. In
1999-2000 she organized
-- As of 4/16/01