Mary Flanagan

14 December 2003

Mary Flanagan / 2003 / USA

A modification of the “Unreal Tournament 2003” video game engine, Mary Flanagan’s “[domestic]” radically transfigures the first-person shooter game. Though spatially reminiscent of a game like “Doom,” Flanagan’s work replaces the familiar designs of the genre – cold, industrial, and forbidding – with autobiographical texts and family snapshots, building an interactive narrative around a traumatic memory of the artist from when her childhood home caught fire. In “[domestic],” the spaces of game action are not violent but emotional, and the notions of play become personal, ultimately raising questions about what kind of political valence these 3D architectures can have, and what kind of meanings can be constructed in using them to enter and explore psychic states, not just “deathmatches.”