PHOTO CREDIT: Francisco Castro Pizzo
MAIN STAGE INTERACTIVE VIDEO GAME
PATRICK BLENKARN + MILTON LIM
Donkeys, labour, technophobia, and sharing the load of revolution: asses.masses is a 7+ hour video game designed to be played from beginning to end by a live audience.
Told across 10 episodes and a wide range of game forms, the show follows the epic journey of unemployed asses as they navigate the perils of a post-Industrial society in which they’ve been made redundant.
In this one-night-only event brave spectators take turns stepping forward from the herd (audience) to seize the means of production (controller) and become the player. There are no instructions. It is up to the audience and their self-elected leaders to work together to play out their version of the story.
Cheeky, political, and best described as Animal Farm meets Aesop’s Fables retold by Franz Kafka, Karl Marx, and Sonic the Hedgehog, asses.masses puts the control(ler) in its audience’s hands and asks them to discover the space between the work that defines us and the play that frees us.
ASSES.MASSES, STAGES 2023
(Photo by James Arthur MacLean)
PATRICK BLENKARN + MILTON LIM
British Columbia / the traditional, unceded, and occupied territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.
Patrick Blenkarn (he/him) is an artist working at the intersection of performance, game design, and visual art. His research-based practice revolves around the themes of language, labour, and economy, with projects ranging in form from video games and card games to stage plays and books. He is passionate about working within international contexts, with recent artistic projects and collaborations taking him as far north as Svalbard and as far south as Buenos Aires.
Milton Lim (he/him) is an interdisciplinary artist whose research-based practice entwines publicly available data, interactive digital media, and gameful performance to create speculative visions and candid articulations of social capital. His work has been presented across Canada, and internationally in the US, Argentina, the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia. He is an Artistic Associate with Theatre Conspiracy, Co-Artistic Director of Hong Kong Exile, member of an AI-focussed collective called Synectic Assembly, and Artistic-Leader-in-Residence with Canada's National Theatre School.
Together, Milton and Patrick are the creators of the video game for the stage, asses.masses and the arts economy trading card game, culturecapital. They are also the co-founders and lead archivists behind videocan, an online national video archive of Canadian performance.
Concept and direction - Patrick Blenkarn, Milton Lim
Dramaturgy - Laurel Green
Sound + original music - David Mesiha
Additional pixel art - William Roth, Clarissa Picolo
3D environments - Ariadne Sage
Additional programming - Sam Reinhart
The asses.masses team wants to thank the organizations who have supported the work over its development, including: Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, The Theatre Centre, BC Arts Council, Creative BC, Canada Council for the Arts, VIVO Media Arts, the Embassy of Canada to Argentina and Paraguay, and the National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund.