Lose/Lose
(2009)

Lose/Lose is a video-game with real-life consequences. Each alien in the game is created based on a random file on the player’s computer. If the player kills the alien, the file it is based on is deleted. If the players ship is destroyed, the application itself is deleted.
Although touching aliens will cause the player to lose the game, and killing aliens awards points, the aliens will never actually fire at the player. This calls into question the player's mission, which is never explicitly stated, only hinted at through classic game mechanics. Is the player supposed to be an aggressor? Or merely an observer, traversing through a dangerous land?

Why do we assume that because we are given a weapon and awarded for using it, that doing so is right?

By way of exploring what it means to kill in a video-game, Lose/Lose broaches bigger questions. As technology grows, our understanding of it diminishes, yet, at the same time, it becomes increasingly important in our lives. At what point does our virtual data become as important to us as physical possessions? If we have reached that point already, what real objects do we value less than our data? What implications does trusting something so important to something we understand so poorly have?

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This was the statement that came with Lose/Lose when I first released it in September 2009.

I had no idea that such a conceptual project could garner the attention and (at times) understanding it did from gamers, anti-virus companies, news agencies, and the general public. Lose/Lose turned me on to an idea that continues in the rest of the works in Data: the Internet isn't just a tool to make our lives more convenient. It's something far more powerful - our collective daydream as a global society; a virtual world that we are already living in, which is shaping our minds, priming us to understand abstract concepts, and allowing us to connect to one another in more meaningful ways.

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