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Culture jamming & video games Paolo Pedercini of Molleindustria about socially critical video games and culture jamming

Digitization & Media Last update: Estimated reading time: 2 minutes
Tags: culture jamming, games, media art, Molleindustria, video games

Can video games be socially critical? Interesting quotes of Paolo Pedercini of Molleindustria, taken from an interview with the artist.

Nice: Fitting my about Molleindustria and their socially critical video games, I stumbled upon an interview with Paolo Pedercini on the site culture-jamming.de. He is one of the heads behind the Italian collective of artists. I think it is a bit older, because it focuses on the McVideoGame, in which you have to build a fast food chain. I have collected a couple of quotes illustrating the approach of Molleindustria, but there is a lot more to discover in the interview.

Our aim is leading a serious discussion about the political implications of video games. We develop various little, experimental Flash games aiming to communicate a political message and to criticize mainstream video games as a cultural means of expression.
Paolo Pedercini describes the idea of Molleindustria

Screenshot of Tamatipico, where you see a worker
In "Tamatipico" of Molleindustria, you guide a worker through his life between productive work, sleep and television

License: Tamatipico Shot by Molleindustria, CC BY NC SA

Pedercini sees his games in political interrelations which he wants to demonstrate. It is not about influencing consumers subconsciously.

All messages in our games are clearly political, because we want to de-mystify the assumption of normal, not explicitly political games being innocent. Nearly all computer games are political, because they deal with cultural and ideological realities.
Paolo Pedercini about the messages in the games of Molleindustria

Two aspects characterize the approach:

  1. It draws on an established form of culture, like video games, similar to those produced in huge amounts, in order to reach a large audience.
  2. However, these games are changed in a subversive way, leading them to a political message which contradicts the message of mainstream games.

Classical culture jamming. But wait…

What is culture jamming?

All activities dealing with re-combining symbols, media and culture. In the nineties, culture jamming has been used extensively for the subversion of advertising and brand culture.
Paolo Pedercini on Culture Jamming

Culture jamming thus draws on elements of the established culture in order to create subversive messages about it.